Notes on the wrapper from a package of Roman candles as we clean house after the Fourth of July …
… Pay the man. Just. Pay. Him.
The New Orleans Saints have lost much in this offseason because of the “Bounty Gate” scandal. Tuesday the club lost again when an arbitrator ruled in Drew Brees favor regarding an attempt by the Saints to place the franchise tag on him in 2013.
The tag would be his second as a member of the Saints but third of his career, having been given the “Tag! You’re it!” label by the San Diego Chargers in 2005. It means the difference of nearly $4 million in Brees favor that season, a shade less than $23.6 million as compared to a bit more than $19.6 million. Both sides will still have lots of money however this works out, but $4 million is worth squabbling over.
The deadline is July 16 and Brees has stated he won’t miss the season, so a deal appears inevitable. But it’s not just about money. It’s about showing the proper respect to a player who has become the bright, shining light of what is otherwise a tarnished franchise.
That this process has dragged on this long is bordering on unforgivable. Everyone wants to save a buck in negotiations, of course, but this is the man whose task it will be to save this franchise this season with Sean Payton in exile, personally and professionally.
It’s long overdue but still not too late for Tom Benson and/or his minions to sit down with Brees and say: “Drew, you are the best and most popular player this franchise has ever had. What will it take, within reason, to make you a Saint for the rest of your career?”
One has little doubt that Brees wouldn’t try to bleed the Saints. He is by every estimation too honorable for that.
So get Monty Hall out of retirement, call up the surviving members of Monty Python if you have to, but get this deal done, before the deadline.
It’s important for the Saints to save a little face this season while there’s still time.
… As disappointing as it was not to see someone my age — 45-year old Dara Torres — come up short of qualifying for her sixth Olympics, it is equally heartwarming to see Baton Rouge’s Danielle Scott-Arruda selected to her fifth U.S. Olympic volleyball team at 39.
It’s not just that Scott is arguably the most talented female athlete this city has ever produced, a multi-sport star in her days at Woodlawn, our own Babe Zaharias. It’s her intense pride at being selected to Team USA once again.
“I love representing the USA,” Scott-Arruda told our Robin Fambrough. “If I could make the Olympic team 20 times, I would.”
… As for Torres, her effort to get back to the games embodies the spirit of the Olympic creed quoted by the modern Olympics’ founder, Pierre de Coubertin:
“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”
Even though she came up short of the Olympics, Torres lived the Olympic creed to its fullest.
… Perryn Keys’ entertaining July 4 feature on the highs and lows of how our national anthem has been performed at sporting events over the years reminded me of my favorite “Star-Spangled” moment.
It wasn’t at a ballgame, but two years ago when I was touring the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History in Washington. That’s where the original Star-Spangled Banner, the one that flew over Fort McHenry, is displayed in a special darkened viewing area behind what one only assumes is some of the toughest terrorist-proof glass in the world.
A group of young teenagers were there, some sort of youth group that descends on Washington every year. Suddenly, they spontaneously broke out into the sweetest, high-pitched a cappella version of our anthem you’ve ever heard, a sound that brought tears to the eyes of the rest of us there.
It was the place, it was the presence of THE actual flag, and it was the respect that those young people showed for one of the iconic symbols of our nation, respect us older folks in Dara Torres territory often wonder if they possess, that made it so special.
Take that, Roseanne.