The Patriots are one of the most polarizing teams in the NFL. And so when something negative regarding the team makes its way into the media, plenty of anti-Pats perk up.
Though the Patriots have supplied many reasons for legitimate criticism over the past few years, the plight of the students of Lebanon Middle School apparently does not fall on the shoulders of the franchise that technically is America’s team — even if plenty of Americans don’t wish to claim them.
The New England Dairy & Food Council has issued a statement accepting responsibility for the fact that the students expected a member of the team to show up on Tuesday.
“New England Dairy & Food Council apologizes to the students at Lebanon Middle School in Connecticut and to the New England Patriots for the miscommunication that disappointed students earlier this week and led to undeserved criticism of the Patriots,” the group said in a statement forwarded to us this evening.
“The HOPSports multi-media, interactive fitness session we bring to schools throughout New England does not involve appearances by Patriots players. While a player appearance was never promised with this program, we now realize our communication with the school had created false expectations.
“It was New England Dairy & Food Council’s mistake to use imprecise language, and we deeply regret that it resulted in false expectations by the students at Lebanon Middle School and generated negative press for the Patriots. We are currently working with Lebanon Middle School to make this right for them and their students.
“The New England Patriots do exemplary work in the community and deserve praise for their commitment to philanthropy.”
Though the communications from the New England Dairy & Food Council technically was accurate, it fairly could have caused some to believe that a player would be coming. So the NEDFC did the right thing.
And while the Patriots have no obligation to clean up a mess that someone else made, they’ve got an opportunity to score some major P.R. points by sending a player or two to the school for a photo op.