Students at Lebanon Middle School were disappointed when they believed that a member of the Patriots would show up and work out with them on Tuesday. As it turns out, the situation supposedly arose from a miscommunication between the school and the organizer of the event, the New England Dairy Council.
“Because of the wording from a [letter] we had sent out, someone at the school drew some false assumptions,” New England Dairy Council spokeswoman Jenny Bourbeau told Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald. “That letter may have led someone to believe, without actually saying it, that [there would be Patriots]. But we never promised a player.”
If that’s true, the Patriots never promised to provide a player.
We’d love to see a copy of the letter in question, since that will help to shed light on whether the school simply made an assumption (reasonable or otherwise), or whether this is merely an effort to supply an after-the-fact excuse to a situation that quickly became a P.R. shibacle for the Pats.
For now, though, it appears that the Patriots never did — and never have — promised to provide players for these specific events.
UPDATE: We’ve obtained the text of the standard e-mail sent by the New England Dairy Council. “Students will move and groove to a variety of activities such as Pilates, kickboxing, dance, aerobics, mixed circuits and more!” the e-mail reads. “All activities are led by celebrity coaches and appeal to kids of all skill levels.” The term “celebrity coaches” implies that someone other than an intern will show up. That said, the initial communication states that the celebrity coaches will be “onscreen.” The easy fix would be to add “onscreen” to the e-mail. The better fix would be to make it clear that no members of the team will be appearing in person. Bottom line? The Patriots bear no blame on this one.