Some talking points regarding local sports ownership and accountability . . .
■ The Patriots and Bob Kraft have been in the news plenty over the past couple of weeks. Relatively speaking, it has allowed the Red Sox to skate free. Two weeks ago, the night the Red Sox fired their president of baseball operations, the Patriots were in the early hours of their Antonio Brown romance, raising a championship banner on the night they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in the season opener.
The firing of Dombrowski largely got lost in the subsequent two-week AB train wreck, but it’s worth discussing at this critical time in Sox franchise history. We can debate the strengths and weaknesses of Dombro forever; it won’t change the fact that he is gone. But we still have yet to hear a single word from team ownership.
One of Dombrowski’s jobs was to keep the media and the fans informed on the direction of the team. With Dombrowski fired, there is no one in command to tell us what’s going on. We are left to guess what is going to happen regarding a general manager and the 2020 status of players such as Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, Rick Porcello, Jackie Bradley Jr. etc.
Sending CEO Sam Kennedy on the club’s flagship radio station doesn’t answer anything. Dombrowski was on record saying that Kennedy has nothing to do with baseball operations.
I’m also wondering about a passage in an essay by the Globe’s Alex Speier’s Sept. 17 story that read, “The Red Sox seem likely to seek a more collaborative model between ownership and their next head of baseball operations . . . Their need for more long-range thinking suggests an area where ownership-level input is likely to increase.’’
Excuse me? That’s a pretty big statement. It sounds like principal owner John Henry is planning on getting more involved in where his money goes. Makes sense. But why isn’t Henry telling us this?
I sent the Sox/Globe owner an e-mail requesting comment on this. Nothing yet. But he is a busy guy.
■ Staying close to Jersey Street, we are all happy to see that David Ortiz seems to be recovering nicely from his gunshot wound suffered in the Dominican Republic in June, but the recent spate of Ortiz interviews amounted to little more than an Ortiz PR campaign, with Fenway Park serving as Ortiz’s corporate headquarters.
It was good to hear from Big Papi, but most of us are still wondering why he was targeted (nobody is buying mistaken identity) and wondering whether the truth will ever be known. Whether it was planned or not, trotting out Ortiz for his “comeback moment” on the same day the team delivered its press release on Dombrowski’s firing was a disservice to all.
■ Now on to Kraft and Brown. Like the Red Sox on a GM, Patriot ownership has said nothing about Brown. Instead, we get planted suggestions from Friends of Bob. The first one came on game day in Miami when we read that “there’s no way Robert would have agreed to this if he knew about AB’s baggage.’’
Swell, but Kraft always had the ability to put a stop to the AB plan and willingly allowed Brown to play against the Dolphins.
On Friday, after it went public that Brown had threatened alleged victim No. 2, the Patriots allowed him to practice with the starters. Brown finally was released Friday at 4:13 p.m. And we were told that “Robert had had enough.”
But the Patriots also knew that Brown might be going on the NFL’s exempt list any minute. And they were going to be on the hook for a $5 million payment if Brown was still on the team Monday. So was his release about integrity, or saving money on a player who was about to be temporarily shelved by the league?
Brown is never going to play for the Patriots again, but he’s taking the gloves off as he goes for his bonus money.
On Sunday, AB got down and dirty with a tweet (since deleted) about Kraft’s prostitution charges in Florida and his perception of different standards for NFL owners and players. (Brown has yet to be criminally charged; Kraft was charged with soliciting prostitution.)
This prompted New York Daily News columnist Jane McManus to conclude, “Here’s why that’s so damaging — Brown isn’t wrong.’’
The NFL players are the ones who signed off on a series of labor-unfriendly collective bargaining agreements, and Kraft’s Florida episode is immaterial as to whether Brown qualifies for his bonus.
The Patriots should have no trouble establishing that Brown violated terms of his contract (intimidating the second accuser) while working for them.
According to Yahoo! Sports, Brown’s contract had a “disparagement clause” that could be invoked if he “takes any action that materially undermines the public’s respect for, or is materially critical of the Club, Player’s teammates, or the Club’s ownership.”
It should be noted that Brown was no longer an employee of the Patriots when he went on his Twitter attack of Kraft.
Can we get back to the playing field now?