There was a moment, Monday afternoon, when the media collectively shrugged.

“I don’t know what to believe anymore,” conceded Michael Felger, host of the popular afternoon sports radio program “Felger & Mazz.” Ben Volin, who has penned stories with screeching headlines like “Bill Belichick throws Tom Brady under the bus” for the Boston Globe, sat alongside Felger, with co-host Tony Massarotti and update guy Marc Bertrand, and admitted that he didn’t even trust his own previous stories/sources.

(Glad he’s here!)

Never has the take “No One Knows Anything” seemed so genius.

This was all after the Jay Glazer story changed the Deflategate narrative, yet again, with news that the NFL had identified a “person of interest” and that it had obtained some sort of corresponding video evidence. By now, you know how the rest of this debacle unfolds: Robert Kraft, the suddenly embattled Patriots owner who the collective media demanded speak – that guy? – yeah, he spoke.

Kraft lit the NFL and the media who covers it on fire. 700 foot flames of glory. It was the HAWT SPORTS TAKE that the likes of whom he lectured wish they could concoct themselves. And we, the fans, the onlookers, the ones who DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW THIS ALL WORKS!, gathered around and enjoyed delicious smores.

“…In direct contrast to the public discourse which has been driven by media leaks, as opposed to actual data and facts. Because of this, many jump to conclusions and made strong accusations against our coach, quarterback and staff, questioning the integrity of all involved.

If the Wells investigation is not able to definitively determine that our organization tampered with the air pressure in the footballs, I would expect and hope that the league would apologize to our entire team, and in particular Coach Belichick and Tom Brady for what they’€™ve had to endure this past week.

I’m disappointed in the way this entire matter has been handled, and reported upon. We expect hard facts, as opposed to circumstantial leaked evidence to draw the conclusion of this investigation.”

Shortly after, more reports leaked; this time, revealing that the aforementioned video evidence was of an equipment manager taking the game balls into a bathroom … for all of 90 seconds.

That’s where we are. But, of course, Kraft’s lecture only prompted more awful hawt sport takes.

Let’s start where this whole mess began, with Bob Kravitz:

“He wants an apology. That’s right, Patriots owner Robert Kraft wants an apology if the NFL’s investigation turns up nothing untoward in what has become to be known internationally as Deflategate. That’s precious. Truly, it is.”

I love when sports scribes write like they’re talking to infants. WHO’S A SILLY LITTLE OWNER, YOU ARE. YESSS, YOU ARE.

Let me say this: Whatever happens at the end of this investigation, nobody owes the Patriots or Kraft or the ball boys an apology. The league simply is doing what it’s supposed to do, investigating claims that the Patriots doctored their footballs in a way that circumvented league rules.

Yes, the league completely handled this the right way, protecting the INTEGRITY of the GAME. So what if they leaked reports that helped shape a pre-disposed outcome on the eve of the Super Bowl? No matter! No crying over spilled integrity.

Personally, I have no skin in the game.

Except for a few more TV and radio appearances; maybe a book.

When you get into journalism, you give up your fan card.

How tone-deaf are you, Bob? Really, we’re going over the pillars of sports journalism right now? Because this has been a banner week for modern-day journalism, ethics, and due process. Tool.

Speaking of aimless conjecture, drivel, and nonsense, we already discussed Dan Shaughnessy’s beautiful disaster yesterday, in which he claimed the Patriots “already lost the game that matters,” But Dan doubled down in today’s edition of the Globe.

If the Patriots are champions and did everything by the book, they have been unfairly targeted and characterized.

Characterized by whom? The lack of self-accountability here is astonishing. But go on ….

Sorry, Patriots fans, but what was true Thursday is true today. Locally, this could wind up being the favorite Patriot team of all time, but nationally their legacy is tarnished

So, the Belichick press conference on Saturday and Robert Kraft diatribe changed nothing? Really? OK. While we’re here, since the media loves to play the “IF-THEN” game, let’s play too: Presuming Kraft wouldn’t double down last night without some certainty that the NFL doesn’t have enough to overcome the burden of proof, then the media’s legacy is forever tarnished.

(To reiterate from yesterday: Shank telling us what the Patriots future legacy will hold is incredible. How will we remember Deflategate tomorrow is uncertain, never mind in 2022.)

But there’s more! Tony Massarotti, writing for CBS Sports, TAKE IT AWAY:

Let’s be honest, folks: a year from now, maybe two, maybe four … there will be another accusation. With Belichick, there always is.

Is there? Or is this the “The Scarlet Letter” and some twisted, hybrid version of Sports McCarthyism?

***

Let me pose the question to you guys, the readers: When it’s all said and done, do you think that Deflategate will have a lasting impact on the Patriots legacy or in the way in which the contemporary media covers sports?

More to come. @Hadfield__.

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36 thoughts on “Sports Media Musings: Bob Kraft Lectured the Media, NFL For Faulty Reporting; Prompts More Hawt Sports Takes

  1. I think the relationship between the team and the media and the league has been ruptured for what will be an extended period. It was already confrontational, and now it will be openly contemptuous.

    But – because the relationship was already essentially nonexistant, all that will really happen is the media will dig in further…they had little to lose before, and now they have nothing to lose.

    They know that angry readers/viewers = clicks, so they will amp that up more than ever. There’s NO disadvantage to giving us nothing but hot takes for the next 10 years.

    Look at Bob Kravitz – what does he care? He’s being linked on a Boston site, which generates traffic, which proves his value. He has no reason to be accountable, because that’s not the business model. His team was eliminated two weeks ago – in a blowout – but he’s being linked on a Boston media site! That tells you everything you need to know about how the media views this “scandal.” And he’s horrible in a way that guarantees clicks, guarantees discussion, and keeps him relevant.

    I said in a previous post that I can’t believe the media went full nuclear so fast, so quickly, in the absensce of any true evidence. And that the NFL’s leaks were so extreme. I don’t see how anybody comes back from this.

    It’s the lowest the media has sunk in my recent memory, and it completely validates their approach. Not only should they keep doing it this way, they should increase it – that’s the backwards lesson I bet they learned.

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    1. I don’t blame Kravitz at all. The owner of the Colts gives you a scoop like that I would expect anyone to go with. What’s deplorable is the leaks from the NFL who want to wage war on a team through the media.

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  2. Felgie and Mazz were downright deflated starting yesterdays show. They were very defensive and Felgie even stated he’d owe Brady/Belichick an apology if the Patriots were exonerated.

    Then Jay Glazer broke his 1/4 truth story about the Patriot ball boy and it was like F & M received a B12 shot and a viagra pill all at the same time.
    The change in their mood was palpable. Felger even offered up a rambling comment about Brady or Belichick being suspended for the Super Bowl.

    The media is out of control.

    How’s this for a title – instead of Felger & Mazz try Smarmy and Sleazy.
    Such a lack of integrity.

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    1. the bathroom story is truly mad – and I’m normally one to be the devil’s advocate.

      Take the extreme argument (hidden stash of balls):

      So for the biggest game of the year, Brady would trust his footballs being stashed in a bathroom, then gathered up – in secret – by a ballboy.

      If that was the case, why would it take 90 seconds? And does video show the second guy walking behind him, getting the old balls, and taking them to a burn pit?

      Insane!

      Or – the ballboy is going to -in 90 seconds – magically deflate the balls precisely to Brady’s maniacal specifications? And Brady will trust that? For the AFC title game? To a ballboy?

      Madness!

      I was sick of the Patriots when this season started. I was over the whole season since the Ray Rice fiasco. I haven’t watched a minute – not 60 seconds – of live NFL action this year. But the media and the NFL did the impossible – made me a Patriots fan, all over again.

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      1. They need to go. They are sucking the life out of the greatest run any franchise has ever had in the NFL for an extended period of time, especially in the salary cap era. All they want to do is talk negatively during Super Bowl week. The sound just like Ray Lewis.

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  3. If this “story” hadn’t already jumped the shark, the “tests” the media conducted today which PROVE that the kid in question could have deflated all of the footballs during his 90-second bathroom break was a big enough leap to clear 15 sharks the size of Jaws. Of course, Florio, who has been like Sybil during this entire affair, was out in front with the “incriminating” evidence today. THIS. IS. INSANE.

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  4. Time has a way of healing all wounds and when it is all said and done and we look back at this Patriots dynasty it will be with praise and not with ‘but this’ or ‘but that’.

    As for the media. With each controversy it becomes a race to publish something. It doesn’t matter what is published. It could be a trolling comment (shaughnessy is the king) to their readers, or some half baked bit of news (see Jay Glazer and the toilet ball news). Gone are the days where reporters care about their reputation. Gone is the wait to make sure they got it right. Reputation gets you nowhere in their business now. It’s all about the clicks. That’s what matters. Is this the worse we have seen the media act? Yes. Is it the worse we will ever see them act? Nope. It will get worse.

    As fans all we can do is either tolerate it or stop reading those who participate in the race to the bottom.

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  5. If I were a locker room attendant at Gillette Stadium, tasked with managing the game balls once they’d been checked by the officials . . . my immediate superior says, “Make sure the balls make it to the sideline . . . don’t lose them! Don’t let anyone touch them! Don’t let them leave your side! Don’t let them leave your sight!” If I had to take take a piss? The balls are coming with me.

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  6. The past week is really nothing new for many in the media. To me, the entire exercise just continues to show that they’re inept at proper coverage of a story–really, any story. This won’t stop it nor will stop this trend in the future. Not sure what you can do about it besides prune your Twitter follow list.

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  7. Maybe I’m alone in this, but I think Barstool Sports’ Dave Portnoy actually did a decent job taking on Felger and Mazz today. His site has suffered incredibly since Thornton left, but he impressed me today.

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    1. No, I agree. He went after them like the agenda driven, f’ing bleep stirrers they are, and kinda punched them in the mouth. He didn’t get into stats and other garbage but just went at them like a sports fan would. And unlike callers, who get a minute to talk, he had two segments and I thought he represented the Patriots fans and our thoughts pretty well.

      VIVA LA STOOL

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  8. What’s the contract status with the Patriots and 98.5? Between DB and YARM and the Felger Youth leader, Adam Jones and how they have approached this whole fiasco, I wonder if it does irreparable damage to the broadcast relationship. I mean, the way Felger talks about Robert and Jonathan alone would make me think they will look to go to WEEI or someplace else as soon as they can.

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    1. It’s CBS radio and Kraft is very tied into CBS so that isn’t happening. On one hand it’s clearly obvious that the Krafts don’t influence the topics on the Hub and that’s good. I don’t want propaganda but it would be nice if most of the hosts could use their freewill to be more objective and resist the urge to always go for the low hanging fruit.

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  9. Tuned all of this out around last Sunday and have only occasionally checked in here to keep track of the arc if the story. Predictably, not much has changed. These media hacks on the local and national level continue to make themselves the story. They’re so much like the big-mouthed kids in middle school who manufacture gossip or offer commentary but who would wet their pants if they ever had to step into the batters box or stand behind center.

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  10. Anyone hear Florio on with DCM this morning? Basically implied that the NFL will bow to mob mentality and punish the Patriots without evidence or a smoking gun. This…from a former lawyer? Florio used to be good. I used to visit PFT daily, but once he became the tool who simply took a topic and poured gasoline on it, I lost all respect for him and his site.

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    1. I never liked him. I thought he was awfully pompous. He started up his website just to have an arrest meter for nfl players and whine about bad behaviour. Never seemed to me that he actually enjoys the game. His main focus was and still is to pussify the NFL.

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    2. I hate to say it, because I can’t stand PFT, but from your description of the appearance, Florio was expressing his opinion of what WOULD happen, not what he thinks SHOULD happen.

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      1. To be fair, I’m pretty sure that’s what he was saying but it’s hard to tell with him. He just seemed so matter-of-fact with saying it.

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  11. So, back in 1988, after George H.W. Bush’s election, the media beat themselves up about simply reporting everything Lee Atwater and the RNC put out instead of critically examining it – they felt that they had been played. That’s happening again, but in this case, the media is a willing co-conspirator. They are willing to take dictation from anonymous sources in the NFL offices without any attempt to fact check (and this, after being used like a tampon in the Ray Rice affair), they use questionable sources (Bill Nye the Science Guy) to cast doubt on Bill Belichick while ignoring actual scientists who support Belichick’s version of events, they make no attempt to understand the actual science and they throw out the fact that Indy’s footballs were found to have not deflated at halftime as casting doubt on the Patriots (of course, we don’t know that they weren’t deflated, only that they were within NFL limits, and we don’t know how Indy prepared its footballs before the game (which affects the initial PSI reading)). Ultimately, I think that in 2015, it’s about the clicks, so unless Ted Wells can clear the Patriots or finds the NFL leaks were being done in concert with media members, nothing will change. Nothing changed after Tomase and nothing changed after Ray Rice.

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  12. Is Michael Felger the most thinned skin person in Boston sports media?
    Going all the way back to when he cried on air for being derisively called Mr.Baseball to this week with his very defensive posture towards the callers and Bertrand about his narrative that the Patriots deserve to be railroaded because they made one technically proven mistake 7 years ago. The eye rolls and the off the cuff tangents against his staff and callers and guests have given me a hint of the backlash he’s getting. And in usual DB fasion he’s not taking it well. When he’s the one throwing bombs he’s very proud of himself and taunts his targets with proclomations that they have to accept people like him that question their integrity and morals. But when the tables are turned on him, he sulks and complains about how dare people point out his faults and errors. For someone who likes stirring the pot you would think he would better prepared for when there is blowback. But shockingly enough he hasn’t matured all that much from his days on the Big Show when Glenn justifiably and very often called him a douchebag for his idiototic strawman conspiracy theories. My favorite is when he kept insisting that the 2001 Patriots were not talented and just lucky. He finally gave that one up after the 3rd title but man did the douchebag hammer away at that trolling narrative.

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    1. Well if Felger is #1, then Mazz is #1A. Mazz gets downright angry when he’s backed into a corner and someone asks him to apologize or clarify his comments.

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    2. Can’t listen to that show. Will reiterate that he and his partner are like loud mouthed middle schoolers who would wet their pants if they had to step into a batters box or stand behind center.

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    3. “My favorite is when he kept insisting that the 2001 Patriots were not talented and just lucky.”

      Felger and YAARM go together like peanut butter and chocolate.

      Admitting that they are wrong would be an unbearable sign of weakness. So instead, point to cosmic and other-worldly reasons for the events that happen that don’t align with their narratives.

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    4. Put them on today, stated they were taking only a certain amount of game deflated ball calls and then they are going to talk about the game. Go out and help my neighbor for an hour or so and when I come back in still going at it. Latest theory is that the NFL does not want them to win because of their history of cheating. I am so sick of this statement and others like it. Spygate was real and happened. It was not illegal during 3 super bowl wins so did not cause these wins. And all the other innuendos that f and m repeat jamming headsets and taping walk through are just urban legend at this point. Enough players and staff have moved on that the cat would be out of the bag by now. This organization is not like the mafia, secrets can get out without a death sentence being attached.

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  13. 90 seconds in the bathroom? I hope he was deflating balls because clearly he didn’t have time to wash his hands in that short amount of time! I would hate for this story to be about hygiene!

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  14. Oh man guys like Felger and Mazz,especially Mazz were so pissed about Krafts public power display. They are beside themselves that Kraft is going to use his power to step on Roger’s throat. All these years of calling Roger a puppet for the owners especially for Kraft they expected Kraft to just let Roger continue to damage his team through leaks in the media? Mazz always kept pointing out that Kraft owed it to the rest of the owners to back up Roger’s witch hunt against BB. So when Kraft took to the podium in his best Tom Hagen impression it infuriated the media mob and F&M who wanted BB head on a platter. Now that they realize that Kraft is going to use his power and influence to squash this, the rest of the mob is angry and deflated that they’re not going to get their wish.

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    1. Gotta love the people that say Goodell is in Kraft’s pocket…Because if that’s true and Goodell’s investigation is (undoubtedly) the source of numerous leaks to friendly media outlets, than Shriveled-Up-Ball-Gate is now the biggest conspiracy in the history of mankind.

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  15. I have concluded that local sports media hacks are curmudgeons for the simple reason that they realize that theirs is the most disdained profession ever.

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    1. The irony, though, is that their turd-like behavior is precisely why theirs is the most disdained profession ever.

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  16. I have asked people to do just this on the 98.5 Facebook page… TURN THEM OFF… it is the only way to elect change.. we deserve better than the school bully screaming threats for several hours every afternoon… it is not for nothing they call it the “Bully Pulpit”… F&M… Turn Them Off!

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