Throughout much of the #DeflateGate controversy, Patriots fans have pointed to connections between the Jets and the league office to explain both the leak of false PSI information to ESPN and the fire-aim-ready approach to an “independent” investigation aimed not at getting to the truth but at getting to a conclusion that the Patriots cheated.
But there’s a connection between the team who made the complaint regarding deflated balls and the league office hiding in plain site at the team’s website. It’s a connection that is gratuitously touted in the biography of Colts Vice President of Football Operations Jimmy Raye III.
Here’s the last line of the bio: “Raye’s father, Jimmy Raye II, played for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1969 and is currently a senior advisor to Troy Vincent who is the executive vice president of football operations for the NFL.”
Apart from the fact that it makes little sense to tout the credentials of Jimmy Raye III by pointing out that his father serves as a senior adviser to Troy Vincent, the fact remains that the father of the Colts Vice President of Football Operations serves as a senior adviser to the NFL’s Executive Vice President of Football Operations. It’s unknown whether the father of the Colts Vice President of Football Operations provided any actual advice to the NFL’s Executive Vice President of Football Operations regarding the #DeflateGate scandal, but it would make sense for Vincent, who hasn’t held the job for very long, to seek advice from someone regarding the best way to handle an unprecedented controversy regarding the inflation of footballs.
And if he needed any advice, wouldn’t he look to his senior advisor?
On one hand, I realize that plenty of cross pollination happens between the league office and its various team, given that the expertise necessary to operate the league will in large part come from folks who have successfully operated teams. But this approach will lead to a stew of conflicting interests that can manifest themselves in all sorts of ways.
Most potential conflicts of interest aren’t readily known by the public. Amazingly, nearly seven months after the AFC title game, the Colts continue to openly acknowledge the existence of a clear link — and potential conflict of interest — between their front office and the league office.