Nearly two weeks ago, Colts owner Jim Irsay made a brilliant move in the ongoing battle for the hearts and minds of his team’s fans by pointing out, in essence, that no other team will pay Peyton $28 million on March 8 and that Manning should be willing to do with the Colts whatever reduced deal he would be willing to do with another team.
On Monday, Irsay squandered those style points by attempting clumsily to reconcile his various public remarks regarding the Manning situation with his prior admonition that Peyton should “keep it in house.”
Addressing via Twitter what Irsay calls “media word-twisters” (I’ve been called worse . . . today . . . by my wife), he addresses the disconnect between keeping it in house and taking it to the tweet streets: “I said’If u have a PROBLEM with some1,keep it n house.Never said’Don’t communicate with fan base about issues involving their team’s roster.”
And now, for the English tranlsation: “I said, ‘If you have a problem with someone, keep it in house. I never said, ‘Don’t communicate with the fan base about issues involving their team’s roster.’”
Unless those are the lyrics of a song with which I’m not familiar, Irsay apparently doesn’t like being held to the same standard he has tried to impose on Peyton. In Irsay’s mind, Peyton shouldn’t tell the media that he has concerns that the changes in the organization are affecting his ability to regain his arm strength, but it’s OK for Irsay to try to back Peyton into a corner by expressing concern regarding the fact that the only way to keep Manning around is to give him on or before before March 8 a check that at this point in his career Peyton could only get from the State Lottery Commission.
Irsay followed that up with more legible message. “We will always communicate with Colt Fans about important issues through all 21st century means to be informative and insightful,” Irsay said.
That’s fine. But Irsay shouldn’t expect his players to not do the same thing. Surely, Peyton regarded the issues he raised last month with Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star to be “important” and “informative” and “insightful.”
Anyone who gets it knows that both Irsay and Manning hope to avoid blame for the coming divorce. They’re playing a game. In his latest effort, Irsay didn’t play it very well.
So, Emperor, if none of your employees can or will tell you that you’re riding that horse both bareback and bare-bottomed, someone has to. And it’s far better to have that message come from someone in the media instead of, say, Oliver or Andrew Luck.