Kicking Them When They’re Down

Boston     Around Boston, this is their time of the year.  Another Super Bowl football extravaganza, and once again, yawn, the New England Patriots are in the big show.  The Boston Globe sports section was full of comparisons of future Hall of Famer Tom Brady’s matchup with recent backup quarterback Nick Foles for the Philadelphia Eagles.  I haven’t read any report where victory was so clearly expected and in the bag since the 2016 pre-election reports, when everyone was sure that Hillary Clinton would clean Donald Trump’s clock.

Which brings me back again to Trump and his state of the disunion speech.  If this was his best shot at unifying the country, he failed miserably.  This regurgitation of hardline immigration proposals tore to shreds any thought that there was a deal cooked up and ready, just waiting to hear the blessing.  He sent the fact checkers running again, but at least that kept them alert and awake for the 80 minutes of this speech, one of the longest state of the union addresses since anyone starting keeping time.

No one briefed the President that the football season was all over except the shouting though.  Darned if he didn’t take a thinly veiled shot once again at the players who had the temerity to speak up and stand down and take a knee or raise a fist in protest of police brutality and the treatment of African-Americans in the country.  Why did he do that?  The season is over, the protest had almost petered out by the end of the season except for some stalwart few.  The tactic has been exhausted, but rather that let it go, somehow President Trump thought that this notion of having a bully pulpit meant that he had to be a bully whenever he could stand in that pulpit.

Why can’t the President take public control of his private racism?  What is it about black athletes that drives him over the edge?  How could any speechwriter or White House staffer have thought this was a good idea, except for their desperation to keep the dog whistle blaring to his base so that he can hold onto the last shreds of his 37%, record low base?

You just know that the President was trying his best to be dignified.  He was maybe even trying to reset and unify.

As long as he can’t control his racism, his chauvinism, and the fear of foreigners from non-Scandinavian countries, trying a new shtick is not going to work, no matter how long he talks, when his heart is clearly not in it.


Jerry Jones Brings Down Papa John Pizza Man This Time

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, left, Papa John’s founder John Schnatter, center. (Brandon Wade/AP for Papa John’s)

Gulfport  Jerry Jones, bully-boy owner of the Dallas Cowboys team in the National Football League has not had a good year, though he is likely too oblivious to know it, and, as bad as his year has been, it’s been an even worse year for everyone and everything he touches.

On his own account, he has become one of the only members of the American superrich to have perfected the art of the Trump Two-Step. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about. The Trump Two-Step is where he puts his foot firmly in the wrong direction, either down his own mouth or in some outrageous lie, claim, or endorsement, and then when the rest of the world catches up to his con, claims it was a win, he was right, and the whole world is wrong.

When Jones was just beating his chest and boasting about the Cowboys, his billion dollar stadium, and his little patch of ground in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, who cared? That kind of behavior was just part of the package. Then Trump gets elected, Jones makes the mistake of thinking the whole world has changed, and all bets are are off. He thinks the Trump election means that the first amendment is now last, freedom of speech is history, he owns the plantation, and all protests are outlawed. Wrong, and Local 100 is part of the slapdown there along with almost all of the other NFL owners who look the other way. His players are so mortified they have to call him into the clubhouse and school him on race and the police. He tries to hold up the NFL Commissioner’s contract and gets humiliated. The then doubles down and makes it clear in the time of #MeToo that his real beef with the Commish is the fact that he thinks his star running back should just get a hand slap for domestic abuse rather than a multi-game suspension. Once again, Jones is living in the 50’s and even the retrograde NFL knows you can’t sanction women beating anymore. Of course, Jones doing the Trump Two-Step claims he still won somehow, while the Commissioner gets $40 million per year for the next five or so.

You hear what I’m saying, everything Jones touches now goes south.

His lawyer in threatening the NFL contract is big name litigator, David Boies. He gets crossways on ethics because he was representing the NFL on some matters and is now part of the Jones mess threatening to sue them. Awkward! Now one newspaper after another has written about the constant conflicts that Boies finds himself in and his reputation has dropped like a rock as someone who’ll do anything for another buck, and represent both sides against the middle.

And, now the Papa John Pizza man, John Schnatter, is taking a fall for Jones. Remember Schnatter seemed to be pimping for Jones when they were playing flag football, claiming after Jones stirred up the controversy that all of the mess was hurting his pizza sales and faulting the NFL’s leadership for not toeing the Trump line. Jones turns out to own or co-own 120 Papa John’s franchises. Jones claims Schnatter is a great American and “when he talks, I listen.” Most of the sporting pages around the country placed their bets on the fact that when Jones talked, Schnatter also listened. Now it turns out that Schnatter’s likely listening meant that he gets to walk the plank for Jones. Turns out the rest of Papa John’s people didn’t like being touted as the go-to-place for white supremacists or having politics become their special pizza topping. The stock price has fallen even more than pizza sales. Schnatter gets booted upstairs.

Jones knows the Trump Two-Step, so he’ll claim he had nothing to do with any of this. He’ll probably throw Mr. Papa John under his golf cart, and claim he hopes the stock and sales in his stores will go up now.

Take a hint and learn from the last year. If you are a friend, associate, or employee of Jerry Jones, recent history says, buy a clue, and make a new year’s resolution to stay clear of him as much as you can. Until he figures out how out of step he is with the rest of America, he’s toxic, and he’ll bring you down.