People Make Me Pissed Off. So Get in Line and Take a Number.
1. RIP Eric Valdepenas
, Bishop Hendricken class of 2003. Another victim of Bush's stupid war.
2. Deion Branch. Are you shampooing kidding me?
This obscene shampoo is what really makes me question professional sports.
As Patriots and NFL fans know, Branch is currently a hold-out from the New England football club because he wants his contract extended.
Branch, the 2004 Super Bowl MVP, was set to make a little more than a million dollars this year. He IS under contract with the club for the 2006 season.
Now...in fairness, NFL contracts aren't generally worth the paper they're printed on. Nothing is guaranteed, other than signing bonuses and deferred payments, etc. Premier players do these holdouts in order to leverage their next contract with their club, or force a trade to a team that will pay such money.
The Patriots' front office is long known for being a wee bit stubborn and deliberate with their contract negotiations with players. Free agents know the deal. Players who want to stick around know the deal. Rookies know the deal. Agents (generally) know the deal.
And the deal: sacrifice a few extra dollars; win a Super Bowl.
So Branch, a second-round pick and certainly an exceptional wideout in the AFC, is trying to buck the system. (did I mention he's under contract for more than a million dollars this season that, if he plays, he gets paid...then can become a free agent and get that contract? but I digress).
He wants the Patriots to pay him as if he was the best WR in the league. The Patriots do not assign Deion that value. Hence, they will not pay.
So his agent is holding him out of training camp and ultimately regular season games. Each day he's out, he coughs up $14,000 in fines. Each day. That's a hefty taxi meter to be running...so much for $.25 per 1/8 of a mile...
The Patriots played their own version of hardball. They told Branch and his representation: ok, you think you're worth the money, go see if you can find a team to pay it. He did. Two teams, in fact: the NY Jets and the Seattle Seahawks.
Both offered him close to or exactly the amount of money he sought from the Pats. One side of the deal done. The next side? What to compensate the Pats for Branch.
Neither team achieved that. Deal breaker.
What did the Pats want? Two first round picks. A hefty ransom.
But it's what they wanted. Or something close.
Branch wants something. The Pats want something. Who's right? Who's wrong? That's soon to be decided by an independent arbitrator. On one side, Branch and his reps. On the other side, the NFL and the Patriots. I have mentioned that Branch is under contract to play for the New England Patriots this season, right?
That means he signed a contract. And the terms of that contract state that in return for more than a million dollars, he's supposed to play football for the Patriots.
Except, he doesn't like that contract. So he opts not to honor it.
And yet, he also gets the right to file a grievance saying that a: the Patriots didn't trade him as they had promised if they got an acceptable offer --and-- b: the Patriots have negotiated in bad faith throughout his holdout.
(What says of "bad faith" when thou dost choose not to honor thy word, dear Deion? That's some NFL Shakespeare for yo' ass...)
And let's take a look at the two teams that chimed in with a contract for Mssr. Branch: the Jets, one of the Patriots division foes. Of course they're going to try to get involved. They want to hurt the Pats.
And the Seahawks. They played (and lost) in Super Bowl 40. They'd like to play in (and win) Super Bowl 41. One way of making sure that happens is to hurt the Pats.
So, in Branch's mind, just because those teams stepped up and told him they'd pay him his contract demands, the Patriots are obligated to trade him. Have I mentioned that Branch has an obligation? And that is to play out the contract that he signed with the Patriots, which is set to pay him a little more than a million dollars in 2006. Did I let that fact slip by?
If those grievances are denied, then Branch's lawyers seek to have the Patriots pay Branch the difference between his salary this year and the salaries he would have made with the first-year money being offered by either/or the Jets and Seahawks.
I'll give you a second to stop reading, turn your head from the screen, and yell "IS THIS SHAMPOOING GUY SHAMPOOING KIDDING ME?" at somebody/nobody/the wall/the dog/your shoes.
So Deion, thank you for your catches in Super Bowl 39. Thanks for helping the Patriots win. Now get out.
But not before you report to work. You're under contract.
3. Wow, they found oil in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Surprise! I bet they didn't know THAT was there... Just like they didn't think that pipelines with a life of 20 years would all of a sudden corrode and rot after 29 years of service.
Here's a question - what do you think the oil companies/government (they're the same entity) knew first: That there was oil in that newly drilled section of the Gulf?
That the levees in New Orleans would be breached in the case of a category 3 hurricane?
Ok, that's it. Tune in next week for another episode of People Make Me Pissed Off.