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A sorry state in Foxborough

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  September 13, 2010 08:54 AM

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If indeed the news on the Logan Mankins front is true, it's a far more egregious situation than anything Randy Moss laid on the table following yesterday's festivities in Foxborough.

Let's forget for a moment that the Patriots' offensive line didn't exactly look like it was desperately missing its Pro Bowl guard yesterday over the course of New England's 38-24 win over the Bengals. Tom Brady was hardly touched, and the running backs by committee stormed their way to 118 rushing yards in the impressive victory. That performance perhaps validates the Patriots' decision to go on without the services of Mankins.

But the reported events leading up to this stage are simply insane.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported yesterday morning that after a contract had been worked out between the two sides, the Patriots insisted that Mankins emit an apology to owner Bob Kraft for blasting him in the media earlier this year. Mankins agreed, and rang up Mr. White Collar. Done deal.

Except the Patriots then insisted Mankins give a public apology in order for the deal to get done. Mankins, of course, refused. Reports that they also insisted that he kneel before Zod are unconfirmed.

On yesterday's radio pregame show on 98.5 The Sports Hub, Jonathan Kraft addressed the report with all the conviction of the cat with the canary. He acknowledged that Mankins did call his father and apologize, but would not elaborate further on the request for a public apology. Smoke, fire, etc.

As a few folks pointed out yesterday when the news broke, if the Patriots are putting pride ahead of personnel, that's an issue that every fan should take issue with. When you put your image ahead of winning games, then it is the team that in fact owes an apology - to its fans.  

If this is any indication on how the Krafts - at the forefront of the NFL labor discussions - are going to handle themselves in negotiations in anticipation of next season's lockout, we should all be very afraid. Moss' epic whine yesterday was one thing, selfish and idiotic at that, but this Mankins story is on par with a high school breakup, where she gets to keep the sweatshirt but only if she admits to all your friends that she was indeed checking out Bobby Simon at the spring fling field day...hypothetically. 

If the franchise sees itself in that high of regard that the world needs to know that it not only wins a contract negotiation, but that it can also make one of its players look like he's returning, dragging his tail between his legs, that's frankly deranged. Like the owners and players say repeatedly, more often than ever these days, it's a business. But if your business involves an arrogance that has reached this level, where it affects the product you sell, that's a huge problem.

If the Patriots want to explore a trade involving Mankins, the Packers sure look like a team that could use him. Of course, I wonder if the Krafts would demand an apology from Green Bay for beating them in Super Bowl XXXI first. That's apparently how business gets done down at ol' Patriot Place, where haughtiness remains the primary ingredient. As long as you admit they're right and you're wrong, a deal can get done. Preposterous.  

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About the Author

Eric Wilbur is a Boston.com sports columnist who is still in awe of what Dana Kiecker pulled off that one time in Toronto. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children. Comments and suggestions for the best Buffalo wing spots are encouraged.

Contact Eric Wilbur by e-mail or follow him on Twitter.

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