- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
Winners, losers TBD, but hero of lockout is Kraft
Winners and losers are still to be determined.
But the lockout _ at last _ has a hero.
“Without him, this deal does not get done. … He’s a man who helped us save football.”
Kraft is hardly the only guy who deserves credit for ending our long National (Football League) nightmare. But there was a reason his was the name people on both sides of the labor divide kept coming back to while the TV cameras rolled. Kraft’s brief turn in front of the microphones had barely begun Monday when it became apparent why.
“I’d like to apologize to the fans, that for the last five, six months we’ve been talking about the business of football, not what goes on on the field,” he said.
From that thoughtful first note, what followed was mostly standard fare. Kraft said the league would flourish, current players would be better protected, and the retirees who built the league’s foundation would not be forgotten. He praised Commissioner Roger Goodell, players association chief DeMaurice Smith and player reps Domonique Foxworth and Saturday for not losing sight of “what was good for the game.” About the only contribution Kraft didn’t get around to mentioning was his own.
Last Friday, he buried Myra, his wife of 48 years, after a months-long battle with cancer. For much of that time, Kraft had been shuttling back and forth between her hospital bed and the bargaining table, largely because he was one of the few owners the players felt they could trust. There was good reason for that, too.
Kraft has riled fellow owners before, and more than a few guys who played _ and still play _ for his Patriots. He likes to win and makes few bones about it. That explains why he didn’t flinch when he forced Bill Parcells out of New England and handing over day-to-day control of the entire operation to his cold-hearted coach, Bill Belichick.
But it was also Kraft who stepped up and took responsibility when Belichick _ remember Spygate? _ got caught wanting to win by any means necessary. Though few people remember it now, he also relinquished the draft rights to Christian Peter, a fifth-round pick from Nebraska, in 1996 because of a checkered past involving violence against women. What even fewer people knew is that Kraft made the move because of Myra’s persistent intervention.
Yet nearly everyone involved in the talks knew something about his wife, and grew to understand what the Krafts meant to each other. That’s why so many of the bargaining sessions were held in the Northeast corridor _ close to Kraft’s base in Boston _ but also why Kraft’s presence at most of them strengthened the resolve on both sides to get a deal done.
It didn’t hurt, of course, that Kraft already had a reputation as one of the few owners willing to speak his mind. And his quip, “We need to get the lawyers out of the way,” probably did more to bring about a resumption of face-to-face talks between a select group of owners and players than all the threats of legal action. So it came as little surprise that Smith, the NFLPA’s executive director, felt it necessary to echo what Saturday had said only moments earlier.
“We couldn’t have done this,” he told Kraft, “without you.”
“Grace” is a term we throw around in sports with little more thought than some of the lazy spirals that will be arcing over practice fields in 32 towns when training camps open later this week. Remember that when footballs start filling up the air again.
By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- Satanists petition for statue at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- MILLER: Brady Campaign says Colorado recalls due to NRA, not grassroots opposition to gun control
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Tech companies call for an end to NSA online snooping
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
The world impacts us. What happens in our towns, cities, states, country and on this planet makes a difference to us.
Happiness is attainable. Morning to night. I love to teach, deal with folks that have an issue and really wish to tackle it and write.
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow