- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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When I tweeted Monday that, beyond New England’s Bob Kraft, I’d seen insufficient apologies from owners and players for the lockout.
It prompted two extreme responses.
Some of you said amen.
Others asked what they had to apologize for, one missed preseason game?
The league sells itself as a year-round event, and it cut all that off for four-and-a-half months. It delayed a free agency period that fans eat up, denied the progress reports that come from OTAs, slowed development of young players and made people pay for tickets they were not sure they’d get to use.
Fans saw a potential for a fall without at least some football, and they saw two sides that are making truckloads of money have contentious negotiations during a time when many of people who fund their success are struggling economically.
On a media conference call Monday evening, I asked Colts owner Jim Irsay if both sides owe fans apologies:
“I think the process is something that is necessary. When you really put it into the context of saying that you are having a negotiation in the offseason and the goal is really not to miss games and we did have the draft. … I think we all owe it to the fans to thank them for their patience. We certainly understand and apologize for any worrisome aspect that there was really going to be an Armageddon and we were really going to miss a whole season or a lot of games.
“I do think some perspective has to be put into place. I know there is a lot of media coverage and there is a lot of speculation, but when you get a deal done like this before the season starts and you don’t have those missed games -- that is the best that you can hope for. You can look around other leagues and see what has happened over the decades. Having 25 years of no games missed is really unprecedented in the modern sports era in America.”
I heard that as a “kind of, but not really.”
Players, including Gary Brackett, have gone hard with “thank you” rather than “we’re sorry.” (See this video.) Maybe I am splitting hairs these, but it’s not the same to me. If I was a ticket buyer, I’d be turned off by the fact that an apology is not a built in talking point for everyone.
We’re curious what you think, so chime in on the attached poll.