When we initially saw that Colts players are conducting players-only workouts in sufficiently secretive fashion to ruffle the feathers of a local media that routinely shakes pom-poms for the franchise, we suspected that the players’ goal could be to keep the press from finding out that, for example, an assistant coach or two is present at the sessions.
In light of a new report from Ian Rapaport of the Boston Herald, we’re starting to think there’s an alternative, or perhaps additional, explanation.
Rapaport writes that Colts quarterback Peyton Manning appeared at a Pop Warner football event in Brockton, Massachusetts, subject to several express conditions. “He insisted no one publicize the event beforehand or he might not show,” Rapoport says. “He banned cameras from the stadium, and he kicked reporters out, as well. It was very clandestine.”
Though Manning rarely speaks to the media unless he’s getting paid many thousands of dollars by one of his sponsors to do so, there’s a chance that he’s particularly sensitive to being asked any questions about the lockout or his role as a named plaintiff in the Tom Brady antitrust litigation. Occam’s Razor would point to the notion that Manning simply doesn’t want to be bothered, but the surrounding circumstances make us wonder whether he simply doesn’t want to be put on the spot, either because he doesn’t believe he fully understands the nuances of the labor/litigation issues or because he fears that he may say something that he shouldn’t say.
Then there’s the chance that, given his habit of wearing his Bitter Beer Face on his sleeve, Manning will say all the right things while his expression tells us how he really feels.
As the objective evidence continues to point to the possibility that the NFLPA* has adopted a litigate-don’t-negotiate strategy until the court system yields significant leverage (even if it takes a lost season or more to get there), guys like Manning and Brady — who are far more concerned about competing for championships than posturing for more dollars and cents that they simply don’t need — will become more likely to say things that could cut against the quest for cash.
Thus, it’s better for guys like Manning and Brady to say nothing at all.