Monday, December 5, 2016

The Thriller in the Blizzard

At Foxboro Stadium in the winter, Patriot fans didn't even consider sitting down during a game.

Instead, we stood resolute, pelted by the frigid winds, our faces frozen, our knees creaking in protest, losing sensation in our fingers and toes. The only thing more tortuous, in fact, would have been to take our seats.

They weren't "seats" at all, really--just long aluminum benches with numbers stamped on them every couple of feet--and when you left to use the restroom, you returned to find that the other bodies in your row had somehow expanded, swallowing up your little chunk of cold metal real estate, and leaving you to shoehorn your way back into place, as you vowed never to urinate at a football game again.

Those benches couldn't possibly have been any colder. I'm convinced they were designed for maximum pain by some sadistic nerd who lost his girlfriend to the high school quarterback, and then, bent on vengeance, swore that he would make football as agonizing for everyone else as it was for him. We might as well have been sitting on cast-iron commodes.

Somehow, it didn't help at all that the following season would bring us a brand new stadium right next to this one, and that, as soon as the final game was over, Foxboro Stadium would be torn down with all the violence it deserved. The fans weren't going to miss this old relic after it was gone; it would have been like feeling nostalgic for your toenail clippings. We were eager to leave this place behind and move on to our new home. But there was an important game to play first.

So it was for my brother and me as we passed through the gates of Foxboro Stadium on January 19, 2002, when the New England Patriots took on the Oakland Raiders in the AFC Divisional Playoff, in what has come to be known as The Snow Bowl.

The storm that Sunday was the only major snowfall of the season, starting a few hours before kickoff and ending a few hours after the final play. I always picture the game having taken place inside a snow globe, a perfectly encapsulated, snowy moment in an otherwise mild winter.

I couldn't help but lick my chops at the prospect of playing a warm-weather team, from clear across the country, right here in our New England backyard. Surely those California dudes would be no match for us as they flopped around on our frozen mess of a field. I figured we'd get a win, extending our improbable season for another week before coming back down to Earth. But that was the most I could ask for.

Fans all over the stadium were holding up "Back to the Bayou" signs (the Super Bowl would be held in New Orleans that year). All I could do was laugh. The Super Bowl was for powerhouses, strong teams with wily veterans who knew how to win big games--not for a bunch of scrappy young kids like the Patriots. We'd never make it that far. Why did people insist on setting themselves up for heartbreak?

We would never win a Super Bowl up here in Massachusetts. It just seemed wrong. Our team's home was a geographical region, as if our city and state were too small and insignificant to qualify on their own. Yes, we'd made it to the big game a couple of times before, first getting massacred by the Chicago Bears in the Foregone Conclusion Bowl of 1986, a game in which the Bears could've started kneeling down at the end of the first quarter and still won by 27, and then dropping another championship game 11 years later, a 35-21 loss to Brett Favre and the Packers. And it seemed that this 2001 team wouldn't even make it that far.

I had always thought that if the Pats had a chance, it was with Drew Bledsoe. Yes, they had gone a dismal 5-11 under Bledsoe the season before, and then lost the first two games of 2001 before Moe Lewis clobbered Bledsoe (and, as it turns out, nearly killed him) with a vicious sideline hit in week 2. By the time Bledsoe recovered and was cleared to play, Brady had carpe diem'd his way to the top QB spot in New England, a role he maintains to this very day, over 14 years later.

But of course, this was 2001, and no one yet had any idea of the historic future that lay before him. He was just some untested whodat from the University of Michigan, barely old enough to buy a beer. How could this kid handle playoff pressure? Yes, I felt Brady was the guy for the job, but he hadn't even played a full season yet. He wasn't ready! Alas, at least we had this game against the Raiders, and this game was a sure win.

No, it wasn't.

On their first possession, the Patriots gained 49 yards before the drive stalled; it took almost the rest of the first half for them to gain another 49. And forget about scoring--the Patriots only picked up two first downs in the half after their initial drive. Meanwhile, the Raiders managed to eke out a TD in the second quarter, and had a 7-0 lead at the break.

I don't know what Coach Belichick said to his troops at halftime, but whatever it was, it worked. The Pats took the second half kickoff and charged down the field, all the way to the Raider 5 yard line. But the drive stalled, and the Patriots were forced to settle for a 23-yard Adam Vinatieri field goal.

No, it wasn't a touchdown. But it finally, mercifully, erased that ugly "0" from the Patriots' side of the scoreboard.

Field goals aren't the worst thing in the world; all you have to do is follow them with a strong defensive stand, and you have a chance to build on your momentum. The one thing you don't want to do is allow points in return.

Sadly, that's exactly what they did.

On the ensuing possession, Oakland's Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 38-yard field goal, and after a quick New England three-and-out, he added a 45-yarder.

13-3, Oakland.

Under normal conditions, a 10-point lead is nothing in the NFL. But these were far from normal conditions. Men with leafblowers cleared the yard markers at every stoppage of play, but their work was getting more impossible by the minute. Players slipped and fell. Passes were dropped. Every tackle kicked up a plume of snow. They may as well have been playing on Mount Wachusett.

It was the fourth quarter now, and given the field conditions, and the short time remaining, field goals alone would not do. New England needed a touchdown.

What happened next is the stuff of Patriot Legend.

They began the drive at their own 33. On first down, Brady hit David Patten for 14 yards. Then Kevin Faulk for 7. Then Jermaine Wiggins for 3. Then Troy Brown for 8.

Wiggins for 4.

Patten for 11.

Wiggins for 4.

Patten for 6.

Wiggins for 4.

It was a prizefight now. The Patriots were Muhammed Ali and the Raiders were Joe Frazier. Wiggins was the jab and Patten was the right hook, and, like Frazier, Oakland had no answer.

Second and goal, Patriots, on the Oakland 6. See the results for yourself.

Brady was a perfect 9-for-9 on the drive, for 61 yards, and capped it off with the first rushing touchdown of his career.

There was 7:52 left in the game, and the Patriots owned the momentum. The whole stadium knew it. The whole planet knew it!

I wasn't cold anymore. I didn't care that I had been standing up for hours. It no longer mattered that my gloves had soaked through, or that every stitch of clothing on my body was saturated with melted snow, as if I had been dunked into an icy swimming pool. We were going to win the game after all! 

It took eight plays, and four minutes, but the defense held, and Oakland punted. The Patriots started on their own 20. First down: 12 yards to Wiggins. Here we go again! Paydirt, here we come!

...and then, three straight incompletions and a punt. 

But how? Brady was on fire just a few minutes ago! 

And, just like that, a tiny bit of dread began to creep in.

2:41 left. Now, the clock game. Three runs up the middle by Oakland, three timeouts by New England, and then a punt. 

2:06 left. The Patriots were out of timeouts. There wouldn't be time for another drive after this one. This was it.

New England started on their own 46. After a 7-yard pass to Faulk, and a 5-yard run by Brady, I witnessed something that will live in Patriots lore forever: The Tuck Rule Play.

Brady went back to throw, and was hit on his blindside by Charles Woodson. The ball popped out, and was recovered by Oakland. Game over.

How could this happen? Tom Brady was supposed to lead the Patriots to victory! It couldn't be. It just couldn't! And yet, the fans were heading dejectedly for the exits.

Suddenly, the full force of the cold hit me again, the howling wind, the furiously-falling snow, and the prospect of a long, frigid walk back to our car, followed by miles of gridlock on the drive home.

But then, a glimmer of hope.

I had brought a radio with me to the game that day. Gino Cappeletti announced that the play was under booth review, and then, ominously, that Brady's arm appeared to have been going forward when the ball came out. 

"Guys, guys!" I shouted to the fans around me. "They're saying his arm was going forward!"

And then this... 

As it turns out, Woodson hit Brady in the head on that play, which should've been a roughing the passer penalty, but it wasn't called. I wrote an article about it, in case you're interested. 

Feel free to share my article with anyone who says the Patriots "got lucky". Funny--seems to me that if you rough the passer and get away with it, you're the lucky one. But I digress.

Infused with new life, Brady immediately hit David Patten for 13 yards. Two incompletions followed, and then a field goal attempt from 45 yards out to tie it. 

It was a line drive kick, barely visible through the falling snow. It wasn't nearly high enough. Was it?

Yes! 13-13, and we were headed to overtime.

The Patriots won the toss and elected to receive, taking over on their own 34. And the heavyweight bout started again:

Brady to J.R. Redmond for 1.

Redmond for 20.

Wiggins for 2.

Redmond for 3. 

Wiggins for 6.

Wiggins for 4.

And then, for some odd reason, the Patriots attempted a run up the middle and lost a yard. On 3rd-and-7, Brady hit Troy Brown. For 3 yards.

Yep, 4th-and-3 from the Oakland 28. It would have been a 46-yard field goal, into the wind. Much too far. The Patriots had to go for it.

Brady to Patten for 6. First down!

Yet again, Brady was perfect on the drive, going 8-for-8 for 45 yards. But they weren't done yet.

Time for some body blows.

Antowain Smith up the middle for 4 yards.

Smith up the middle for 1.

Smith off right tackle for 8.

Smith up the middle for 2.

That put the Patriots inside the Raider 10, well within Vinatieri's range.

I believe you know the rest...

...and, I Believe You Know The Rest.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Your Nine-Year-Old Boy

What would you do if your nine-year-old boy called little Suzy a "fat pig"? Would you buy him an XBox? Or would you tell him that nine-year-olds should know better?

What if he walked up to a girl on a playground and called her "ugly"? Would you laugh? Would you high-five him and buy him a a Snow Cone from the ice cream truck? Or would you teach him to respect women?

What if your fourth-grader mocked a disabled boy in his class? What if, in front of everyone, he flopped his hand around and sputtered loudly in a crude imitation of the boy's disability, and what if he lied about it afterwards? Would you cover for him and say he wasn't actually making fun of his handicap? Or would you take him aside and tell him that all people deserve respect?

What if 11 girls in your son's school accused him of touching them inappropriately? Would you ask him if it was true? Would you allow the school to look into the girls' claims? Or would you categorically state that all 11 of them were lying and conspiring against your little boy?

What if your son stood up in front of the whole class and bragged about the size of his genitals? Would you be shocked? Appalled? Would you consider a full psychiatric evaluation? Or would you just tell everyone to stop being so sensitive, and that all boys talk like that?

DO all boys talk like that?

What if your nine-year-old told all the other kids that students from Mexico were criminals, and that we should build a wall to keep them out? What if, when you asked him about it, he said, "Oh, I was only talking about the bad ones"? Would you remind him that that isn't what he said, that, whether he was trying to or not, he convinced a lot of people that all Mexicans were bad, that words are important, and that he should watch what he says and how he says it? And would you remind him that we are a nation of immigrants, and that the people who were here first had their land taken away from them, so we need to be accepting of everyone? Or would you proudly state that your son is simply saying what everyone else is thinking?

IS that what everyone else is thinking?

What if, after doing all of the above, your son refused to apologize, denied that he was wrong, and instead blamed others for what he had done? Would you punish him? Would you try everything you could to get him to learn empathy and respect? Would you apologize to his victims? Ground him? Take away his iPhone?

...or, would you vote for him for President of the United States?

Saturday, October 1, 2016

If you're pro-Patriots, then you're also pro-Hillary. Deal.

Maybe you support Trump, or maybe you're undecided, but don't feel right about Hillary. Ask yourself why.

More likely than not, you'll give me an earful about emails. Or Benghazi. Or the Clinton Foundation. Or--my personal favorite--that Bill and Hillary Clinton are mass murderers.

We've heard of these scandals for so long--and so often--that our reaction has become conditioned: "Benghazi", "email" and "Clinton Foundation" are trigger words, shorthand utterances thrown out in place of an actual argument, the same way Jets fans shout "cheaters!" and then run away before you can respond. 

Hillary's detractors don't want to discuss the email "scandal" for the same reason Patriot haters avoid the details about Spygate: The more you dig, the less you find.

Despite well over a year of hysterical screaming, only one claim against Hillary has even a hint of validity: That classified information was potentially mishandled. Much has been made, for example, of the fact that Hillary used a personal address for office email, but this is perfectly legal and has been done frequently in the past, including by Republicans such as Colin Powell, Bobby Jindal, Jeb Bush, Sarah Palin, and others. Almost reminds you of how scouting opponents' defensive signals is legal and quite common, and how Roger Goodell himself admits it, but somehow--maddeningly--it doesn't seem to matter.

It's illegal to discuss classified information without taking proper safeguards, the same way it's illegal for a doctor to discuss a patient's private health information in an open area where others might hear. A doctor can be punished for doing this, but of course, there is a huge difference between absentmindedly forgetting to close a door and selling Kim Kardashian's patient file to the National Enquirer. The former is simple carelessness; the latter is a deliberate criminal act.

Even Hillary's harshest detractors don't claim she was intentionally leaking / sharing / selling confidential information; once you cut through the hair-on-fire rhetoric, all they're really claiming is that she was careless. In fact, the FBI report uses that exact word.

"But what about the deleted emails?" you ask. Yes, Hillary's attorneys delivered over 30,000 emails to the State Department and deleted about the same number of "personal" emails that they claimed were not relevant to the investigation. 

"AHA!" you scream. "Why would she delete emails? Why would she do that? She must be hiding something! Guilty! GUILTY!" and, of course, I am instantly reminded of the Gary Tanguays of the world, who screamed just as loudly that, if Tom Brady destroyed his cell phone, that he must be hiding something. But you defended Brady, didn't you?

Yep, you did.

The truth is, you're reaching. You have less on Hillary than Goodell had on Brady. At least in Brady's case, there was an allegation, albeit a flimsy one, that there was a scheme to let little puffs of air out of game balls, so there was a possible motive for Brady to destroy evidence. In this case, neither Hillary, nor anyone else at the State Department, is even accused of anything specific. You're implying that she destroyed evidence without claiming that a crime was even committed!

At most, Hillary is guilty of being less careful than she should have been. And now, I'm sure you'll put on your most somber face and tell me that nothing is more important than protecting our nation's confidential data, and that we need presidents who are going to take that seriously, but all I'll see is Roger Goodell's face, his forehead wrinkled with concern, saying that nothing is more important than the integrity of the game we all love, and I'll reject your argument the same way you rejected Goodell's.

Are you sensing a pattern yet?

Benghazi? Take a deep breath and do some reading. Wash away the toxic discourse, and you'll find that the only charge of any validity against Hillary is that the embassy requested funding for extra security prior to the attack, and their request was denied. Of course, Hillary herself never saw the request, the same way the chairman of JP Morgan Chase does not see every loan application, and the State Department does not have a limitless supply of money to grant every single request it receives. But assume just for a moment that it was granted: The embassy was stormed by 150 men armed with RPGs and assault rifles. Unless the embassy requested a fleet of Humvees and an Apache helicopter, the extra security wouldn't have made a difference--as tragic as that is.

Yes, it was beyond horrible that four people died in those attacks. And the situation was rightly looked into. But the Senate took this to an extreme, forming a "Select Committee" in May, 2014, which then took two years and $3.3 million to complete its investigation. I can't help but be reminded of the outrage all of Patriot Nation felt when we saw that Roger Goodell formed a kind of Select Committee of his own, which took four months and $5 million to complete its work. We lamented the colossal waste of money, the ridiculously long investigation, and the obviously biased way in which it was conducted. I level the same allegations against those conducting the Benghazi inquest, while you seem to have embraced them with open arms.

And lastly, we have the Clinton Foundation. The main allegation here is that there is a conflict of interest, that the Clintons accepted donations to their foundation from individuals who had business before the State Department while Hillary was Secretary of State. While this is true, it is absolutely false that the Clintons derive any personal benefit from the Foundation. They do not collect a salary or any other form of payment, and it ought to be patently obvious that there can't be a pay for play scheme when there is no pay!

Now, it is true that the Clintons set up a a strict set of rules with the Obama administration that governed how the Foundation would communicate with donors, and how those communications would be reported, and after a thorough review, it is clear that those rules were not adhered to 100% of the time. But why do we insist that this automatically proves something sinister is going on? Again, if the Clintons do not personally benefit from the Foundation, what possible motive could they have for skirting their own rules? In fact, if they were up to no good, why would they have set the rules up in the first place?

That reminds me of a story.

On October 16, 2014, the Patriots played the Jets at Gillette Stadium. Jim McNally, the "Deflator", as he called himself, delivered the footballs to the field. During the game, Tom Brady complained angrily that the balls felt like "f*cking bricks," and sure enough, after the game, John Jastremski, the equipment manager, measured the balls and found them to be 16 PSI--almost 3 pounds OVER the allowable limit. The obvious question here is, if the Patriots were deflating their footballs, then how did they get so far over the limit? Did McNally inflate them by accident?

But, more importantly, after the game, Brady instructed Jastremski to remind the officials about what the rules were. He went so far as to request that Jastremski show the rulebook to the officials with the PSI section highlighted. 

Assume for a moment that Brady was guilty of illegally deflating footballs. Why on Earth would he call the referee's attention to the PSI rules if he was doing such a thing? Brady's own actions seem to exonerate him, as Hillary's exonerate her. 

The parallels just keep coming, as recently as last week’s debate. Trump was humiliated—were it a football game, the score would have been 63-6—but of course, Trump has never admitted to losing at anything; it must have been someone else’s fault, and so the blamestorming began. He had a faulty microphone. Lester Holt was biased. Hillary was mean to him. Some Trump supporters even suggested—get this—that Hillary was having answers fed to her over an earpiece!

Never mind that such a risky, elaborate scheme was totally unnecessary. The questions could’ve been predicted by an astute middle school student. Forget all that, and just realize that it’s a conspiracy theory regarding communication equipment.

Sound familiar?

Mike Tomlin’s Steelers lost to the Patriots in Foxboro in week 1, 2015, and after the game, Tomlin hinted darkly that the Patriots had knocked out the Steelers’ headsets. I, along with you, and anyone else with half a brain, immediately reminded the haters that the teams don’t control the headsets, the NFL does, and that anyone who believes otherwise is a tinfoil hat-wearing, moon-landing-was-a-hoax, grassy-knoll-dwelling conspiracy loon. And yet there you go, posting memes about Hillary’s earpiece.

Looks like you stopped thinking at halftime.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Kap Trap

Let me make sure I understand.

You can't stand how people are so easily offended nowadays. It troubles you that you can't speak your mind anymore without facing a torrent of outrage from oversensitive whiners.

By now, it probably seems to you that some people are just itching to snap into attack mode, to jump down your throat, haranguing you for your insensitivity.

You can't mention a man's race. You can't mention where he came from. You can't mention his religion. You can't mention his beer belly or his hernia. Just open your mouth, and someone is lecturing you about your failure to understand other people's feelings. 

We can't just speak off the cuff anymore. We have to carefully examine every word before we say it, in order to avoid damage to anyone's eggshell egos. Whatever happened to the easy days of yesterday, when we could say exactly what we were thinking, without fear of being hassled? The whole situation is absolutely maddening.


It's really a foolproof position. Mention any of the above at the next party you go to, and heads are sure to nod all around. People identify with this stuff! 

There's just one tiny problem. His name is Colin Kaepernick.

You didn't even think when you saw what Kaepernick did, did you? You just reacted. You swallowed your gum, or spit out your beer, or cursed at the TV before the national anthem was even over.

Of course, Kaepernick wasn't firing a gun, or driving drunk, or beating up his girlfriend. He wasn't even talking. He was making a statement, though: A statement that really, really pissed you off.

So YOU unleashed a torrent of outrage at Mr. Kaepernick, and YOU snapped into attack mode, and YOU jumped down Kaepernick's throat, and the throats of anyone who dared to defend that un-American piece of filth, and YOU harangued him for his insensitivity, and YOU angrily judged him for his disrespect for the brave souls who fought and died for the flag that he was now desecrating. 

In other words, you reacted exactly like the people you hate.

Now, of course, we'll begin the dissembling phase, in which you'll assure me that this is completely different, that we all just need to shut up about Donald Trump mocking a man's disability or Leslie Jones being compared to a gorilla, but that Colin Kaepernick should have his tattoos removed with a cheese grater for sitting instead of standing during the National Anthem. Spare me.

No one ever admits their hypocrisy, so I don't expect that from you. But I'd appreciate it if you'd at least be honest with yourself. Try it sometime.

What if I sent Roger Goodell the same letter every day for 100 days?

Roger Goodell, Commissioner
National Football League
345 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10154

Dear Commissioner Goodell:

As a lifelong NFL fan, I have lately found myself less able to enjoy the game I love due to the pervasive culture of scandal that plagues this league. Yes, arrests happen. Drug violations happen. Domestic violence happens, too. But a scandal is never a one-time event in the NFL: First comes a rash of news stories about the incident itself; next, a wave of headlines about how the NFL handled it.

This negative attention must not come as a surprise, since the league rarely even bothers to issue a public report after completing an investigation. Just recently, for instance, the NFL announced that it had exonerated Peyton Manning of any PED violations after a seven-month investigation, and no report was issued. The announcement itself was 129 words long, too short even for a middle school term paper, and yet, the NFL immediately put the matter to rest and turned its attention to other issues. Really? After seven months of investigating, this is what we get?

You seem to believe that, if you aren’t currently discussing something, and the media isn’t asking about it, it’s a dead issue. But there’s a residual effect that you appear unable to comprehend. Anyone who reads the news knows that Peyton was in fact a patient at the Guyer Institute, and that Ari Fleischer, Manning’s media rep, admitted that drugs were in fact sent from the Guyer Institute to Ashley Manning—exactly as Charlie Sly alleged on video.  We also know that Manning hired private investigators to interrogate Sly, and to dig through Peyton’s files at the Institute.

Yes, I know you say you looked into everything and that Manning is clean. That isn’t the point. The point is that it looks bad, that Manning acted like a guilty man, and the NFL offered no facts or explanations to dispel that notion. You succeeded in burying the story, but for many, the takeaway will be, “What are they hiding from us?”

Commissioner Goodell, despite the dismal state of your reputation, you still have a chance to put things right. You can prove through your actions that you are honest and aboveboard by providing through, meaningful answers to the following:

  1. As mentioned above, Ari Fleischer confirmed that Peyton Manning was a client of the Guyer Institute, that Manning’s wife, Ashley, was prescribed medication from that same clinic, and that the medication was sent to her home, as alleged by Charlie Sly. Was the “medication” in fact HGH?
  2.  How much credence did you give to Sly’s blanket “retraction”, which was issued on YouTube before Al Jazeera’s story even aired, and before Sly even knew what statements he was retracting?
  3.  Since Sly claimed on video that drugs were sent to Ashley Manning, and Ari Fleischer confirmed the same, doesn’t this necessarily mean that Sly told the truth on video, and that his retraction is not credible?
  4. Did you assess the credibility of the various individuals involved in this case? Who did you find to be credible, and who did you find to be not credible? Why?
  5. Would Ashley Manning be violating HIPAA by saying she did NOT take a certain drug? If not, could she safely deny ever taking HGH, if in fact she has not done so?
  6. During the course of your investigation, did you find any evidence that the Guyer Institute prescribed HGH to anyone (not necessarily the Mannings)? If so, was the HGH prescribed for lawful uses?
  7. In a prior investigation, you determined that an increase in the frequency of phone calls between alleged conspirators was an indication of guilt. Was it an indication of guilt in your opinion that Manning hired attorneys, private investigators and media consultants after the allegations against him were made public?
  8. Speaking of phones, did Peyton Manning surrender his cell phone(s)  to your office for analysis? Did you ask him for his phone, or at least for a download of information taken from it? If not, why not?
  9. Is asking for a cell phone, or a download of information from a cell phone, standard NFL investigative procedure? If not, what determines whether you will ask for phones / phone data?
  10. Why wouldn’t you ask for cell phones or cell phone data in every investigation? Isn’t this the primary mode of communication nowadays? What possible reason could you have for not asking for this information?
  11. Was it an indication of guilt in your opinion that Peyton Manning began his own, independent investigation into the allegations before the NFL did? Has any accused person ever launched an independent investigation at any point in NFL history prior to this case?
  12. Did Manning consult with you or anyone at NFL HQ prior to opening his own investigation? Is conducting an independent investigation permitted under NFL rules?
  13. Do you think Peyton Manning trusts the NFL’s investigative process? Why would a man who trusts the process hire his own representation and conduct his own investigation?
  14. Did Peyton Manning give you, or anyone at your office, an explanation of why he conducted his own investigation? Did you ask for an explanation?
  15. Did Manning’s independent investigation compromise the NFL’s investigation in any way? If no, how can you be sure?
  16. Doesn’t the mere questioning of witnesses by an outside party compromise the investigation, since it tips off those being questioned as to what the facts are, and allows them to prepare their answers to future questions?
  17. Was it an indication of guilt in your opinion that Manning’s private investigators went to the Guyer Institute and rummaged through his patient files?
  18. Did you authorize Manning’s investigators to review the files prior to them doing so? If yes, why didn’t you send your own personnel to supervise the process? If not, does it concern you that representatives for a player who was accused of wrongdoing saw, and potentially tampered with, evidence before your office was able to review it?
  19. Did you ask Manning’s investigators exactly what they did with his files?
  20. Did the investigators remove or add anything to the files?
  21. Were the investigators supervised for the entire time they were in possession of the files?
  22. Did the investigators have written authorization from Manning to review his, or his wife’s, private health information?
  23. Was it an indication of guilt in your opinion that Manning’s representatives traveled to Sly’s residence to question him, and when he was unavailable, questioned his parents?
  24. Was a formal report generated after this investigation? If so, why wasn’t it made public? If not, why wasn’t the raw information made public?
  25. Why does the NFL sometimes release a report and sometimes not? Isn’t there a standard procedure that governs such things?

Perhaps your job, and your stratospheric salary, are safe, but your reputation and your credibility are not. Please take the first step to remedy this by answering the questions above.

I sincerely look forward to your reply.


The Sports Police