Months ago a reporter asked Woody Johnson a question about Darrelle Revis, who at the time was under contract with the Patriots, and Johnson made the mistake of actually answering the question instead of following the NFL’s “how to handle the media” playbook to answer all questions in the most evasive way possible.
In direct response to the reporter’s question Johnson said the words “I’d love for Darrelle to come back.” Since Revis was still under contract with the Patriots this is in fact tampering but if you really believe this had any actual impact on Revis’ decision to come back to the Jets I have this neat little contraption that can control the sun to sell you.
The Patriots, of course, didn’t care how trivial Johnson’s quote was and because they are known for sticking to the exact letter of the law at all times themselves (insert your own joke here) they filed tampering charges against Johnson. So, when Patriots owner Robert Kraft commented on Revis after he signed with the Jets the Jets decided to hit the Patriots back with a frivolous tampering charge of their own.
Like Johnson Kraft was simply answering a reporter’s question, but unlike Johnson Kraft’s comments came just after Revis had signed a new contract with the Jets whereas Johnson’s comments were made right before Revis hit free agency. But the intent of what both owners were doing was obvious, they were talking to their fan base through the answering of a reporters question. There were no coded messages for Revis to decipher, no taking every third letter and constructing cold war style secrets, there was and will be no tangible effect on where Revis decides to sign a contract.
Since this isn’t a court of law we won’t bother wasting everyone’s time arguing about intent anymore. By the letter of the, absolutely ridiculous, law Johnson clearly “tampered” as did Kraft. Although Kraft’s comments are not quite as clearcut a case as Johnson’s, since Kraft was talking mostly about why Revis didn’t return to the Patriots, but everything about this is such silly nonsense.
Technically they both tampered but not in any type of meaningful way that had any actual impact, just fine them both, fine the Jets a little more and fine the Patriots a little less (say the minimum), and let’s just be done with this pettiness already.