In his press conference following the announcement that the NFL plans to uphold Tom Brady's four game suspension, team owner Robert Kraft said:
"The decision handed down by the league yesterday is unfathomable to me."
In a piece for ESPN about Kraft's response, Jason Whitlock writes:
When faced with stupid questions, I like to answer them. So, in order of appearance:
Really? - Yes, Mr. Whitlock. Really. While the plight of poor people in this country, particularly those of color, is unspeakably tragic and must be corrected, even wealthy football team owners can sometimes feel like they are being treated unfairly and be surprised by the treatment.
Unfathomable? - Yes, again, Mr. Whitlock. Even when one is wealthy, it is perfectly acceptable to expect one thing and experience complete disbelief when the opposite occurs.
What country has Kraft been living in? - This one is easy. It's the United States, Mr. Whitlock. While Robert Kraft certainly travels quite a bit, he resides in the United States.
Massachusetts to be exact.
And even though it may surprise Mr. Whitlock, I suspect that Kraft is fully aware of the recent events in our country as they pertain to the criminal justice system's deplorable treatment of the poor and those of color.
Here's a question of my own:
How did you expect Robert Kraft to respond? Did you expect him to receive the news of the upholding of the suspension from the commissioner of the NFL and think:
"This is not unfathomable at all. Yes, I fully expected the suspension to be lifted or at least reduced. but in light of the recent events in places like Ferguson and the tragedy of Sandra Bland and others, I should've expected to be treated unfairly, even though this ruling has no relation whatsoever to the American criminal justice system and is a matter of private business."
Whitlock's heart is in the right place and his concern for poor Americans trapped in an unfair judicial system are more than justified.
And I should know. I was once one of those poor kids, arrested and facing trial for a crime I did not commit and denied legal representation even though I was living well below the poverty line. I lost almost two years of my life defending myself against false accusations and had no way of recovering damages from the years lost and money spent.
The criminal justice system can be anything but fair and oftentimes devastating to the most at-risk populations in this country.
But using Robert Kraft for his reaction to the continued suspension of his quarterback as a means of illustrating the problems of the criminal justice system and suggesting a certain tone-deafness from Kraft is nonsense.
The man was fully expecting a different decision from the commissioner. When that decision failed to materialize, he was stunned. Shocked. He found the ruling to be unfathomable. And when compared to the results of recent appeals by NFL players to disciplinary measures, Kraft's reaction was not without merit.
Agree with the commissioner's decision or not, almost all appeals result in a reduced suspension or the elimination of the suspension entirely.
Unfathomable was at least in the realm of possible human emotions when you consider the facts.