CBS-4 Sports Final Steve Burton Interview with Ty Law – May 23, 2004
(Thanks to BSMW reader Gina for transcribing this.)
Ty Law: It’s no more of a privilege to play for the Patriots than it is to play for any other team in this league.
Steve Burton: Let’s nip this in the bud right from the get go. Then we’ll move on. People back home, the media back home I should say, are thinking that you only talk to black reporters. The African American guys. Are you?
Ty Law: (laughing, raises his fist) Black power.
SB: Is that your intention?
TL: No, that wasn’t my intention at all. I talk to Ron Borges, I talk to Michael Felger. Unless they’re real fair skinned, I don’t think they’re black. That’s absurd. What difference does it make if it’s a black reporter or a white reporter? It’s someone doing their job.
SB(voiceover highlight reel): He’s the best cornerback in the NFL. He knows it, the Patriots know it. Here’s the problem. The Pats can’t afford to keep him. They can’t afford to let him go, either.
SB: I asked Terry Glenn this and he said “I D-I-D, did. The famous DID word. Do you still want to play for the Patriots?
TL: I love the Patriots. I love my teammates, my fans, playing for them. That’s the only team I know. I also understand that this is a business and that I can’t always have my way. I’m gonna go out there and play my heart out just like I always do. Just because I have a problem with Coach Belichick and Scott Pioli doesn’t mean I have a problem with the organization as a whole. You know, Mr. Kraft has been good to me, Mrs. Kraft has been good to me. I have a pretty good relationship with all of them. If I had my druthers, I would retire here.
SB: I’m going to read you a quote you said. “I have the utmost respect for Belichick, the best coach in the league. He’s getting paid accordingly, I want get paid accordingly as well. He just re-did his deal. I don’t know the details but I guarantee this…” I’ll let you finish the quote.
TL: He didn’t take a pay cut.
SB: What did you mean by that?
TL: Exactly what I said. He done a great job with the team, the organization. He helped bring home two championships to New England. He got a contract extension and he got a raise. I was a part of that. I helped bring those championships home too. He asked me to take a pay cut. Why should I take less when he didn’t take less?
SB: You called your boss a liar. Most people, if they do that, they get fired. How are you going to come back and work with Belichick?
TL: First of all, the reason I called him a liar..let me give you an example. He said to me because of my age, he couldn’t give me a long term deal. But when you look at Rodney Harrison, 30 years old, six year deal. Tyrone Poole, 5 year deal, 31 years old. Drew Bledsoe, a ten year deal. That’s a lie. You told me that to my face.
SB: Do you regret saying that?
TL: No, I don’t regret saying that. I’m a man and I’m going to stick by anything I say. Maybe I shouldn’t have used those exact words but where I come from, you know, a lie is a lie.
SB: You use the statement “I gotta eat”. I gotta eat? That the most ridiculous statement you could have made. What were you thinking? What did you mean by that?
TL: That was totally taken out of context. The question that was asked of me was “Ty, will you hold out? Will you go to training camp?” That’s the question that was asked of me. I was like why would I hold out? I never asked for more money. I wasn’t complaining about the money I was making currently. I said I got a family, I gotta eat. Why wouldn’t I go to work?
SB (voiceover training reel): Law has been out in L.A. working with his own personal trainer, Bob Kersee from the Jackie Joyner Kersee family. He’s been working him hard.
TL: He’s been working the hell out of me. Like always. That’s what he does. But you know, it’s not for everyone. Many people have come and many people have gone.
SB (voiceover): Law signed a seven year, 51 million dollar contract extension in 1999. He’s more than lived up to it. At age 30, he’s coming off of his best year ever.
TL: Let me put it in layman’s terms. You got a job. You’re making fifty-thousand dollars a year. Forty-thousand a year. You get employee of the year like I did. I was defensive player of the year. Your boss comes to you and says next year, we can only pay you thirty-thousand dollars. You’re gonna have a problem with that. Why? Well my contract, my salary says I’m supposed to make this. I’ve done my job. I’ve exceeded everyone’s expectations. Why should I have to make thirty-thousand dollars. See, people are looking at the number. The millions of dollars. People can’t relate. But that’s fair market value. That’s the fair market value for my services. No one tells Bill Gates he shouldn’t make any more money. Or Henry Ford to not make anymore money.
SB: You’ve brought up in the past, Belichick’s contract with the Jets. Why?
TL: Because people seem to forget about that. I’m trying to make a similarity to my situation and his. And Scott Pioli’s. They were under contract. He had three years left under his deal. He fought so hard and was so adamant about not coaching. And it wasn’t like you were taking a lower position. You were getting a raise and getting bumped up to Head Coach of the New York Jets. You signed that contract and you didn’t honor yours. But I’m being a bad guy when I’m not willing to take a pay cut but I’m willing to honor mine. Everyone forgets about Coach Belichick and his situation.
SB: When you see Belichick for the first time, face to face, what is that going to be like?
TL: Like it always is.
SB: You think so?
TL: Hey, what’s up Bill, how you doing …shake his hand and acknowledge his as a head coach trying to defend his championship.
SB: Do you think he’ll shake your hand?
TL: Why not? I mean, if you a professional, why not? I mean, we’re here now, no sense in arguing on the field. We’re trying to defend a championship.
SB: Are you a selfish player?
TL: Let me ask you the question, Steve. Then you can answer it for me. I went to Coach Belichick when this whole thing was happening with Tom Brady and his contract and I went to him, nobody told me to, between practices and training camp and said would you like me to restructure my contract so we can get Tom Brady done and move on because it was getting to be a big distraction. So I went on my own, willing to redo my contract to get Tom Brady done and that was my intention. Tom Brady. Because getting asked the questions, every day, it was like can we move on. Understand that I have the highest cap number, one of the highest cap numbers of the guys. Is that selfish?