Tom Brady is leaving the New England Patriots after 20 years, and owner Robert Kraft is saying it’s because the future Hall-of-Famer didn’t want to be with the team anymore.
Did Robert Kraft Call Stephen A. Smith During First Take?
Kraft reportedly called ESPN First Take’s Stephen A. Smith midshow on Tuesday to share the details of their definitive meeting.
Kraft says the Patriots wanted to keep Brady, but the latter wanted to leave. He says, per Smith, it could have been worked out, but Brady didn’t want to remain with the team. That sounds pretty cut and dry, but some have called foul on Kraft’s take, and have accused him of trying to control the narrative.
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Not Everyone is on Kraft’s Side
Mike Felger, Jim Murray and Tony Massarotti of 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston are among those who shared their displeasure with Kraft’s attempt to “get out in front of the story.” Kraft’s call to Smith and other communications with the media was seen as a means to blame Brady for the breakup.
While the duo understands and agrees with the Pats and Brady parting ways, Kraft’s verbiage and handling of the situation has left a bad taste in the mouths of some. Placing blame, or overspecifying is totally unnecessary.
The fact is, Brady turns 43 before the start of the 2020 season. Like every other team that has had a legendary player for an extended period of time, the Patriots had to ultimately move on, and whenever that happens, there will be nostalgic fans who never want it to end.
A Mutual Decision to Part Would Have Been Ideal
This should have been a mutual decision, and perhaps to some degree it was, but it’s a little disconcerting to hear Kraft make it sound as if the divorce was all on Brady. It wreaks of an owner hiding behind a star player and manipulating the media in an effort to spin the story in a way that allows him to escape any blame.
Why on Earth would Kraft call Smith midshow to give him this information? Why was this level of specificity and detail necessary? It wasn’t, and if we’re being honest, from an optics standpoint, Kraft might have looked better had he not shared or implied Brady wanted to leave. It was actually irrelevant considering it was an inevitable separation.
As it is, there will be an unnecessary adversarial component between Brady and Kraft, at least in the eyes of some fans, and perception matters almost as much as truth. That is an unfortunate fallout piece from what should have been a mutual decision.