|Charles Barkley to Patriots fans: When Bill Belichick and Tom Brady leave, ‘Y’all team is going to [expletive] suck’||01.12.14 at 3:11 am ET|
FOXBORO — No one in sports is more outspoken than Charles Barkley.
On Saturday night, following a 43-22 Patriots win over the Colts at Gillette Stadium, he showed again why that is while inside the Patriots locker room.
Barkley was the guest of owner Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick and the former NBA star was visiting with LeGarrette Blount, the star running back who attended a football camp at Barkley’s alma mater of Auburn University before going onto stardom at the University of Oregon.
But it wasn’t Blount’s four touchdown performance that got Barkley all fired up. No, Barkley got all fired up when reporters started asking him about the job Kraft and Belichick have done.
“Every year, they have a chance to win. That’s pretty cool,” Barkley began.
Is he a Patriots fan?
“No, no. Bill is my friend. Mr. Kraft is my friend,” Barkley continued. “But I was just making a point. In sports, if I’m a fan, I want my team to have a chance to win. That’s all I want. In 99 percent of the cities in every other sport, not just football, your team sucks. You have no chance of winning. The Patriots have a legitimate shot of winning every year. That’s pretty cool.
“It bothers me, it bothers me that y’all don’t appreciate them having a chance to win every year.”
ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, a hall of fame basketball columnist who knows Barkley very well, challenged Barkley, “How do you know we don’t appreciate it?”
Barkley didn’t hesitate.
“Y’all don’t. Y’all don’t. Unfortunately, because of the Internet and [crap] like that, you all win the championship or you don’t.
“In New England, y’all have a chance to win every year. I’m impressed with the Patriots organization because they’ve lost so many people and y’all take winning for granted. Y’all do.
That’s something that many assume New England fans already know. Not Barkley.
“No, you all don’t know that,” he said. “You all don’t know that. You all do take it for granted. You all think, ‘We have to win the Super Bowl or the season sucks.’ You all do [take it for granted].”
|National media sounds off on Saints’ bounty system||03.05.12 at 3:35 pm ET|
Never without controversy lately regarding issues of rough play and player safety, the NFL has another scandal on its hands as a league investigation found that the Saints were guilty of a wide-reaching system of payments to defensive players from former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams for knocking out star offensive players on opposing teams.
The system of bounties reportedly involved between 22 and 27 players and spanned from 2009 to 2011. With the information now at the heart of discussion surrounding the NFL, many have begun to opine on what should happen to the Saints and how player-conscious NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will punish Williams and the Saints franchise for their transgressions.
Sports Illustrated NFL writer Don Banks wrote that because of this bounty system, Saints general manager Mickey Loomis and coach Sean Payton face the most trouble of anyone in this saga.
Wrote Banks: This one stinks, NFL fans, and the stench goes top to bottom in the Saints organization. New Orleans can’t realistically make everyone pay with their jobs. There will be league fines and likely suspensions. But for Loomis and Payton, the accountability should be at a level commensurate with their responsibility. They were in charge of this show, and they know what comes with being the men at the top.
You get the credit and the blame. And this time, there’s nothing but blame to go around.
While Banks wrote that Loomis and Payton will undoubtedly be in trouble and could face the threat of losing their jobs, ESPN NFL writer Ashley Fox takes it a step further — she feels that the two men should be fired for their involvement and lack of action in helping prevent Williams’ payment system.
Wrote Fox: According to the NFL’s report, when [Saints owner Tom] Benson directed Loomis earlier this season to ensure that any bounty program be discontinued immediately, Loomis did not follow Benson’s directions. “Similarly, when the initial allegations were discussed with Mr. Loomis in 2010,” the report continued, “he denied any knowledge of a bounty program and pledged he would ensure that no such program was in place. There is no evidence that Mr. Loomis took any effective action to stop these practices.”
If the NFL’s report is true, Loomis defied a direct order from his owner. That is grounds for dismissal. And Payton was no better.
For others, though, the issue of the Saints’ bounty system extends far beyond a single team. Greg Couch of Fox Sports believes that those behind the bounty system in New Orleans should undoubtedly be punished, but that the culture of the NFL is also to blame in all of this.
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