Peter King Quotes The NFL’s Top Attorney Comparing The Concussion Settlement to ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’

04.27.15 3 years ago 162 Comments

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When last we left apparatchik draftnik, Peter King, he used the death of Packers PR director Lee Remmel as an excuse to recycle his favorite Brett Favre fart story. Peter was astounded by the realization that at the time of his birth there were 92-year-olds around who had been alive when Lincoln was shot. Oh, and he guessed correctly that the Patriots would open the 2015 season against the Steelers, a rare instance of PK being right that he surely won’t spend the next four months gloating about.

But what about this week? First, we get a whole lot of nothing about the draft, then Peter really finds his groove and bring the awfulness. READ IT, I DARE YOU.

Three days before the 2015 draft, one thing is clear:

Peter King is prepared to fudge on all bets!

The drama starts with the second pick. With Tampa Bay very likely to take quarterback Jameis Winston number one, Tennessee is in command with quarterback Marcus Mariota the likely target if anyone wants to come up.

Allllll righteee, so which teams might be doing that?

Lots can happen, including Philip Rivers being in play, and Chip Kelly getting an itchy trigger finger, the Jets moving up for their quarterback of the long-term, and the Browns using their two first-round picks to jump into the fray. Nothing is clear this morning, but this is what I’m hearing, and what I believe three days from round one:

Basically, Peter has no idea, which is not as much a knock on him as it usually is, because no national reporter has a wealth of reliable information in the days leading up to the draft. Of course, that doesn’t stop our nugget dispenser from wasting our time with what amounts to guesswork. The #content beast must be fed, after all.

I don’t think the Chargers will trade Philip Rivers. Just a gut feeling after lots of time calling around over the weekend.

“What do you mean you don’t deliver below 52nd Street? Well, I’m going to call every nutmeg pasta joint in the city until I find one that does. Incidentally, have you heard anything about Philip Rivers getting traded?”

If the Titans don’t get a good offer, I think they pick Mariota. Tennessee wants an offer; the Titans aren’t married to picking anyone at number two. I do not believe Tennessee has gotten a golden offer yet. As one GM in the top 10 told me Saturday: “Tuesday or Wednesday is when those calls are made, the serious calls.”

The Glengarry calls.

Maybe — but the Falcons did the work on the huge Julio Jones draft deal with Cleveland three weeks before the 2011 draft. I’ve got to think that the Titans would know if they were going to get a really good offer by now.

Even if Peter knows for sure that the Titans haven’t fielded any offers – and that’s doubtful – he’s basing the likelihood of a deal getting done on how one other draft trade went down.

And I hadn’t heard of even a strong rumor of one by late Sunday afternoon.

At best, the rumors so far have been pseudo-lofty-esque. Your rumor game had better be SKRONG to get into MMQB.

That doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

What? You mean to tell me the quality of the bullshit rumors you hear have no effect on reality? I’m so disillusioned.

The Titans, though they feel good about Zach Mettenberger, would feel better about Mariota.

That’s a lie. No one feels good about Zach Mettenberger.

I can’t see Chip Kelly going all wacky for Mariota.

But?

But that’s just me.

Oh, so I should totally disregard, then.

Jumping from 20, where Philadelphia is due to pick, to the top five would just be too debilitating for a team with some needs. One of the best general managers in football said to me over the weekend: “I think we’re all waiting for Chip to make a move, and none of us really knows if he will.” I don’t either. But I doubt it.

Okay, before I slog through another 12,000 words, is there even a chance of there being useful information in this column?

My gut feeling three days out? (Dangerous in a year like this, because nothing looks certain but the top pick.) The Titans don’t get that pot of gold for the pick, and they pick Mariota.

Kiss of death. Now the pick surely will be dealt.

That’s a big no, Ape.

One last thing about the run-up to the draft that happens every year. I spend time the weekend before the draft each year talking to people about my final mock draft, which will run Tuesday here at The MMQB.

This is like spending time each week of the regular season asking general managers if your fantasy lineup is strong, only even more pointless and infuriating. At least I have some interest in fantasy outcomes. I couldn’t possibly care less how accurate anyone’s mock draft turns out to be.

In talks with team officials, I usually say something like, “Tell me if you’ve heard anything you trust about” Team X. With Jacksonville picking third, I asked 12 people I talk to fairly often to tell me if they heard anything they trust about the Jaguars at three. Eight answered the question with a name. Amari Cooper, Dante Fowler and Leonard Williams all got mentioned as names they heard reliably.

This is why, in draft week, you’ve got to qualify almost everything you say.

So what’s your excuse every other week?

A mixed bag about the Chicago locale for the draft.

I’m a fan of the draft moving around. I hope one day it’s Green Bay.

“Live from VFW Post 1206, it’s the NFL Draft!”

I hope it goes to a bunch of different places, starting with Los Angeles next year. I’d love to see the draft at L.A. Live, the downtown venue that encompasses the Staples Center, or somewhere else fitting for a red carpet.

“I’d love for there to be more opportunities for me to expense travel to my employer.”

Having said that, I’ve heard from several agents that their clients want the draft in New York. It’s perhaps a coincidence that the potential top three picks Thursday night — Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota and Amari Cooper — all chose to skip the trip to Chicago. Perhaps it’s the start of a trend.

In fairness, every dipshit who has worked in print media views three examples of something as evidence of a trend.

The last draft held outside of New York City was in Chicago 51 years ago. Actually, it was held 10 days after John F. Kennedy was assassinated, in late 1963, as the league drafted players for the 1964 season. So there’s a bit of history to this one.

Peter King: Did you hear about JFK?
Draftee: No. What happened?
PK: Assassinated. 51 years ago the last time the draft was in Chicago.
Thought he would cry.

There will be two distinct venues in Chicago, separated by Michigan Avenue in the South Loop. On one side: The Auditorium Theatre, seating about 3,000, a venue much like Radio City Music Hall. Commissioner Roger Goodell will open the draft inside the theater, and the 26 players who did RSVP to attend the draft will be introduced. They’ll stand above the stage, on a balcony, for the National Anthem, and then go back inside a room upstairs to await their name being called. Goodell, meanwhile will then walk across the street, the length of about a full football field, to “Selection Square” in Grant Park, where all 32 teams will be located and where the picks and trades will be called. In Selection Square, Goodell will put the Bucs on the clock shortly after 8 p.m. Eastern Time (7 p.m. in Chicago), and then walk back inside the theater to announce the picks for the evening.

Peter King next week: “What bravery! What leadership! Did you not see Roger Goodell sacrifice his own safety to cross the street! He put his life on the line for this sport. Sure, traffic had been stopped. BUT WHAT IF IT HADN’T? And you all wanted this man fired? Shame on the lot of you!”

Day three picks will have some interesting venues:

The Jaguars, trying to pump up their London partnership, will be making their sixth- and seventh-round selections late Saturday night (England time) from London.

British person: Oy, that’s a proper massive fing, announcing draft picks no one cares about in our country, innit? I’ll ‘ave 300 season tickets.

Some 79,000 fans applied in a lottery for free tickets to the draft, and 6,000 were awarded a pair of tickets each. How well the league and the fans and the players adapt to the new setting will determine whether the league continues to go on the road — though from what I hear, Chicago would have to be a significant failure for the league to revert reflexively to New York next year.

“After further consideration, letting Goodell kick off the draft with an explanation of why it’s good to put ketchup on hot dogs was ill-conceived and we hope he recovers quickly.”

A TV draft special from that draftnik, Cris Collinsworth?

Collinsworth, the Emmy-winning NBC color man on “Sunday Night Football,” usually disappears from the football consciousness in the offseason. Not this year. Collinsworth in 2014 bought a majority interest in the football analytics website Pro Football Focus, and PFF will have a draft special today, “Pro Football Focus: Grading the 2015 Draft,” at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.

(Truth in column-writing: I work with Collinsworth at NBC, and have been employed by NBC to work on the network pregame show since its prime-time inception in 2006.)

It’s nice to see Peter make a half-assed effort at full disclose, though he neglects to mention that PFF also does work for his column so this half disclosure?

We then get a lengthy discussion of how Greg Hardy’s 10-game suspension is a victory for how the NFL no longer sucks on disciplining domestic violence after sucking at it before.

[Hardy’s] argument likely will not win in his NFL appeal, because that appeal would be heard by a Roger Goodell appointee. But it’ll be interesting to see, assuming he files suit against the NFL for an excessive suspension, if a court views last year’s 15 games as time served.

“Hardy has no chance to win on appeal, but if will be interesting to see how his failure plays out.”

The discipline in this case was buttressed by an investigation that’s part of a process brought about after the failures of the Ray Rice case. Part of the NFL’s enlightenment on domestic-violence issues

Ha ha, “enlightenment”.

involved hiring former Manhattan sex-crimes prosecutor and investigator Lisa Friel as the league’s special counsel for investigations. Formerly, as Pash said, “We would have deferred to law enforcement.” But in the wake of the lax penalty and investigation into Rice knocking out his fiancée in a New Jersey hotel 14 months ago, Friel was empowered to gather a team — including a Charlotte attorney and an independent medical examiner — and go to the area to investigate the charges against Hardy.

So all it took for the NFL to get one case right was a wait of nearly a full year, the lessons from several other disastrous fuckups and the creation of a parallel law enforcement apparatus. Mission accomplished, everybody.

Not only is Peter in full spin mode for The New NFL, but he wants to re-frame the history of how the NFL fucked up so royally on domestic violence in the first place.

3. The differences between the discipline because this case happened post-Rice? Huge. If the NFL hadn’t rewritten its domestic-violence policies, how would Hardy have been disciplined? First, it’s likely Hardy would have played as usual for Carolina in 2014, because the case was still being adjudicated in North Carolina; despite the first conviction in July, the league probably would have waited until the final outcome of the appeal before disciplining Hardy. It’s likely that with the dismissal of the case in February, Goodell would have imposed a short suspension based on the findings in the bench trial. So, instead of a 15-game paid leave in 2014 and then 10 games without pay in 2015, Hardy might have gotten two or four games total under the old way of discipline for domestic violence — because the league would have deferred to local law enforcement and courts.

No, no, no, fuck you, you water-carrying piece of shit. The league wouldn’t have gone easy on Greg Hardy solely due to a failure of law enforcement. The NFL simply didn’t give a shit about domestic violence until the country forced the league to care. What about the 16 cases of domestic violence that received no suspension from the NFL in the first eight years of Goodell’s reign? Sure, in some of those cases, charges were dropped, but not all of them.

If that’s not depressing enough, it’s time for Peter to get into the proposed settlement in the class-action concussion lawsuit.

The NFL’s most dangerous case nears closure — the league hopes.

When U.S. District Court Judge Anita Brody on Wednesday signed off on the concussion lawsuit brought by more than 5,000 former players, her 132-page ruling seemed to quash the chance of further appeals canceling out the deal that could bring relief to needy ex-players by late this year. That doesn’t mean there won’t be appeals, however, and those who object to the settlement have until May 22 to file those objections to Brody’s decision.

The key part of Brody’s ruling, I believe, comes on page 71 of her decision, and it has to do with the fact that players would have to prove that all or a great majority of any head-trauma issues were caused by playing in the NFL. As pro careers on average last less than four years, many NFL players played more tackle football before reaching the NFL than they did in the pros, a fact that Brody addresses midway through her ruling.

“Even if Class Members could conclusively establish general causation, the problem of specific causation remains,” she writes. “Class Members argue that the cumulative effect of repeated concussive blows Retired Players experienced while playing NFL Football led to permanent neurological impairment. Yet the overwhelming majority of Retired Players likely experienced similar hits in high school or college football before reaching the NFL. Brain trauma during youth, while the brain is still developing, could also play a large role in later neurological impairment. Isolating the effect of hits in NFL Football from hits earlier in a Retired Player’s career would be a formidable task.”

So the NFL is off the hook for causing brain damage just because of how the feeder system of professional football works. Unless a player somehow walked onto an NFL team without ever having played high school or college football – which is practically impossible – there’s no way to hold the NFL accountable. Never mind that the promise – however remote – of an NFL career is the very reason why many kids get into football in the first place.

Not in any way to minimize what happened to players in the NFL, but there is no question in my mind that if the case ever went to trial, the NFL would have taken some of the big-name plaintiffs in the case, found some old video of college collisions, and asked at trial: Which ones of the big hits caused Player X to have significant post-concussion syndrome today? If one single hit didn’t, how much of his condition can be attributed to his six years in the NFL, and how much to the 10 years of tackle football before entering the NFL?

Nice how Peter basically throws out a “no offense” before laying out his incredibly cynical scenario of how the NFL would weasel out of taking responsibility for long-term head injuries. That’s just a professional offering of respect right there.

Quotes of the Week

“What Judge Brody did was not simply approve the settlement, but she assessed the objections that were raised and that would be the basis for the appeals, and really, comprehensively, addressed them, and found them to be without merit, and without merit compared to the benefits of the settlement. It goes back to ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ really, where Atticus Finch says to his daughter, ‘It’s called a compromise, Scout.’ A settlement is just that — a compromise.”

—NFL legal counsel Jeff Pash, to me, on U.S. District Court Judge Anita Brody’s 132-page decision in which she approved a settlement in the legal battle between the NFL and a class of more than 5,000 players on the issue of the long-term effects of head trauma on retirees and their families.

Goddamn, only the NFL is at once so corrupt and sanctimonious that in finding a way to escape responsibility for causing head injuries does it view itself as Atticus Fucking Finch. I’m used to the NFL saying its shit smells like roses but even that’s staggering to me.

Stat of the Week

Cautionary Tale NFL Stat of the Week:

Ah yes, the Smug Hindsight History Nugget of the Week

This week, PK has already been obnoxious about domestic violence and concussions. Surely there’s a note he’s not hitting. Some grating habit of his that has not yet been employed. Oh yes…

In 2013, the Miami Dolphins traded the 12th and 42nd overall picks in the draft to Oakland for the third pick and selected pass-rusher Dion Jordan from Oregon.

After two unimpactful and pricy seasons (both of those adjectives are understated), Jordan stands on the verge today of either being cut by Miami or being kept but needing to dig himself out of a huge hole with a coaching staff that doesn’t trust him to be on the practice squad, never mind start for a playoff contender.

Oh, and if Miami had not made that trade in 2013, and had kept the two picks? With the 12th pick, they could have taken either defensive tackle Star Lotulelei or guard Kyle Long; with the 42nd pick, to fill a major running back hole, Miami could have picked Le’Veon Bell.

That’s the kind of trade, and pick, that can haunt a franchise for a long time.

Sure, the Dion Jordan pick was bad and was even considered a reach at the time it was made. It was among the many poor decisions that cost Jeff Ireland his job. That said, what is there to be gained from Peter King utilizing two years of hindsight to point out what Miami could have done instead? None. Absolutely fucking nothing but a desperate attempt to make him look smart. All Peter needs is a time machine to be the finest GM in sports!

Factoids of the Week That May Interest Only Me

For the first three months of his NFL career, Todd Gurley will not be able to drink a beer legally. He turns 21 on Aug. 3.

O’Doulsnerdness!

May 25 is Tommy Lasorda Garden Gnome Day at Dodger Stadium.

Good decision in the collectibles realm. Lasorda’s a better garden gnome than bobblehead.

Get ready to be bummed out. You might remember that a minor league team had a Peter King bobblehead night a few years back. Well, someone got Petey to sign one, then they put it on eBay and it actually sold.

B A N H U M A N I T Y

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

So I ran the 6.2-mile Central Park loop Saturday morning (58:33—hey, anyone ever notice it’s different running on a windy 47-degree morning, with real hills, than it is on a flat treadmill in the basement of a health club?), and for nearly a mile I found myself trailing a woman having a great time running and chatting away on her cell phone. She had one of those earpieces, the kind with two earbuds and then the mike somehow affixed between her lower lip and chin. We were both running about the same pace, about 9.5-minute miles, up and down the slight grades of the beautiful park, and I was interested in her conversation with — I believe — a girlfriend on the other end of the conversation.

“Found myself trailing” – desperately tried to keep pace with a woman inconspicuously so I could eavesdrop on her conversation.

(When I run, I have nothing in my ears. I struggle, and think, and watch the surroundings, and then struggle some more. But I certainly do not converse more than is absolutely necessary. I can’t.)

Sure, fine, whatever. That just means this lady is in better shape than you because she can run at that pace and carry on a conversation.

I did find out, though, that this 30ish woman was going to a baby shower later that afternoon, hadn’t bought a gift yet but was thinking about a gift card from Bloomingdales, wondered how much would be appropriate, settled on $50, then asked if the person on the other end wanted to meet for a margarita beforehand, and then she drifted behind me on a bit of a decline.

Okay, so not only does Peter listen in on this woman’s conversation like a creep but now he wants to lecture her for having the conversation in the first place, but not without first giving a bunch of good reasons why it’s dumb to judge her in the first place.

It’s a free country and cool if you can use all this technology wherever, and I know I’m a 57-year-old dinosaur, and I get that just running and thinking and pondering life is probably passé, and I understand no one gets hurt when someone is on the phone while jogging in one of the great parks in the world.

All of this is perfectly reasonable and you should probably stop right now.

BUT

But I do not want to be on the phone when I am running through Central Park. I’m just not going to understand that.

Fine, you stupid asswipe. No one is saying you have to use your phone. Just because this woman wasn’t using this specific run to be reflective or contemplative or whatever other virtues you want to ascribe to yourself for running in silence doesn’t mean she isn’t other things at other times. You’d think for an advocate of silence you wouldn’t bleat about every petty disturbance in your over indulged existence, you dippy shitweasel.

Ten Things I Think I Think

OH WHAT’S THIS? MORE BRAIN FARTS!? BUT WHAT OF THE GLORIOUS SILENCE!?

1. I think there is a cottage industry out there saying the Bengals are nuts for extending Marvin Lewis

I think you mean a chorus. A cottage industry implies there are people who make money doing nothing but decrying Marvin Lewis’ contract extension. I’m sure some in the Cincinnati media can harp on it and drum up interest, but that seems kind of limited for a full-time job.

and asking what Marvin Lewis has won that would merit him getting a contract extension through 2016. Idiocy, in my opinion. Regular-season wins over the past four seasons:

Cincinnati: 40
Baltimore: 40
Pittsburgh: 39

That’s a fair point; now watch Peter destroy it.

Does he need to win in the playoffs? Absolutely. Losing in the playoff opener four years in a row isn’t good, nor should it be something anyone with the franchise accepts.

So… then it’s fair to criticize keeping him on, then?

If Mike Brown were a Steinbrenner, Lewis would have been gone after last season. But I refuse to blame this all or even mostly on Lewis. The Steelers and Ravens start first-round quarterbacks who have played great in multiple playoff games, and both have won Super Bowls. Andy Dalton hasn’t — yet. I’m not putting the blame for that on Marvin Lewis. Now, I would put the blame on him for so solidly standing behind Dalton, without any consequence for his lousy January play.

That might make sense if Lewis’ Bengals teams weren’t 0-2 in the playoffs over eight seasons before Dalton arrived.

The Bengals need to draft a challenger to Dalton, not necessarily to hand him the job but to say, If we’re going to be better than we’ve been, we need to be better everywhere, including at quarterback. To be clear: I’m not absolving Lewis of blame for never getting past the first playoff game. But I’m putting more of that blame on the quarterback than on the head coach.

So Cincinnati should waste a pick on a player that should “challenge” but not necessarily displace their starting quarterback? That’s the ticket! Super Bowl 50 here they come! It’s fair to blame both Marvin Lewis and Andy Dalton for this. It’s not like either has a gleaning track record of success in the postseason.

2. I think there are those inside Jaguardom who want Amari Cooper with the third overall pick, and those who want Dante Fowler with the third overall pick. Leaning toward Cooper winning for my mock draft on Tuesday, but I still have a day to mess that one up. So give me time.

As much I want Peter to be wrong about things, I’d give anything just to never hear about his fucking mock draft ever again.

4. I think it probably wasn’t the best idea for Greg Hardy, or someone Tweeting for him, to re-tweet the day of his 10-game suspension this wish from an apparent fan of his: “F— Goddell.” [Sic.]

Appropriate that the only editing notes in Peter’s column is Peter snottily correcting the spelling of Roger Goodell.

That’s the kind of thing that’ll really help him win a reduction in his suspension.

Because he totally had a prayer of a fair appeal conducted by one of Goodell’s lackeys before that.

6. I think one of the things that made this year’s schedule particularly challenging was this rule the sked czars

Is there anyone who works for the NFL who isn’t considered a czar by Peter King?

mandated to the 136 computers spitting out possible versions of the 256 regular-season game: No team could follow a Sunday night game with a short-week Thursday game, either at home or on the road.

I like that players no longer have to play football games after a three-day layoff and Peter is only concerned for the welfare of the dudes who make the schedule.

10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:

b. Seventh pick in the 2009 NBA Draft: Stephen Curry.

c. Second pick: Hasheem Thabeet. Sixth pick: Jonny Flynn.

PK Smug Draft Hindsight: Not just for the NFL anymore!

e. How does a human being make the kind of shot he made getting mugged and falling out of bounds that Curry made against New Orleans Thursday night? In front of Sean Payton, by the way … according to Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Impressive. I hear Payton Ds up point guards better than any other coach in the league.

n. Coffeenerdness: Very glad to have discovered walking through Grand Central Station the other day Joe, a tiny to-go coffee shop with tremendous care taken in making good espresso drinks. The smell in there: heaven.

“The smell of my coffee farts later: portable heaven”

o. Beernerdness: A Winenerdness note.

Eventually beer snobs graduate to wine snobbery anyway. It’s just the next step of insufferability.

Tipped a glass in your honor Friday night, Joseph Phelps, a glass of 2012 Cabernet. Phelps four decades ago was a construction magnate who loved wine and followed his dream to found a vineyard and produce quality wines. He did it ecologically in St. Helena, Calif. My wife and I visited the Phelps Vineyard a few years ago. The acreage was mowed by scores of sheep. Fertilizer, much of it, was pure compost. I have no idea how much of a difference that makes in the wine, but the Cab is one terrific wine.

Winenerdness: I have no idea how wine works.

Phelps died April 15. He certainly left the wine lovers of this world a great gift.

Whew. It was getting late in the column and no one had died yet. That’s like getting through a Game of Thrones episode without a beheading.

The Adieu Haiku

Ted Wells probe of Pats:
Day 94. Please end it.
Publish the report.

Football dementia?
You know what calls for justice?
Deflated footballs

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