Rest In Peace, John Thompson, Jr.

John Thompson, Jr. died last weekend at the age of 78.  Most people know him for his accomplishments as the head coach at Georgetown; before that, he was an All-American player at Providence and a “bench warmer” – – behind Bill Russell on the Celtics.  I cannot pretend to have known Coach Thompson, but I did meet him and spoke with him more than a few times in the mid-to-late 1970s as he was in the process of establishing Georgetown as a basketball program on the national level.  I always found him to be insightful even though his view of various things was very different from the norm.  He was a physically large and imposing man; he was also gentle and warm.

Rest in peace, Coach Thompson…

About a week ago, the NY Times carried a story that was a one-off in the sports section and it did not get any follow-on reporting or commentary that I could find in other areas of the news media.  The story related to the arrest and charging of Pats’ owner, Robert Kraft, with solicitation of prostitution in February 2019 at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida.  The report in the Timeslinked here – says that a 3-judge panel in the Florida appeals court unanimously upheld a previous ruling by a lower court throwing out the evidence against Kraft because the process by which it was collected violated his Fourth Amendment rights.  Here is what the Fourth Amendment says:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

In the “Orchids of Asia caper”, the evidence was collected by a warrant duly issued – – but the ruling is that the basis for the warrant was misrepresented to the judge that issued the warrant.  Kraft’s attorneys have issued the not-unexpected statement that this ruling not only ends the case against their client – – subject to an appeal to the Florida Supreme Court that may come later – – but that it is a foundational decision protecting all citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights blah, blah blah…

I do not read minds, but I suspect that Robert Kraft will be more than happy to be done with this matter as will the NFL at large.  However, it would not aggravate me in the slightest if Kraft also chooses to file a defamation of character suit against everyone involved in the misrepresentation of what was going on in that spa.  After the arrest, news headlines said that the investigation went beyond prostitution and that it was part of an operation against sex-trafficking.  Robert Kraft was charged along with more than 20 other men in this case; none of those charges involved sex-trafficking.  No one else was ever charged with sex-trafficking.  And yet, those sorts of issues are associated with Robert Kraft improperly because various officials in Florida misrepresented them.

Robert Kraft is clearly a public figure and the odds of a public figure winning a defamation suit are long odds indeed.  Moreover, filing such an action would dredge up unseemly reports about his behavior and he needs that like a third nostril.  Nonetheless, there is no real penalty to be assessed against those folks who exaggerated the severity of what was ongoing there.  Perhaps this case taught some of those folks what the Fourth Amendment limitations on their investigations are; I do not see that there is any comparable lesson here about exaggeration and misrepresentation of the severity of the actions of an accused person.

Moving on …  Sometimes, I can garner what I believe to be all I need to know about a subject from a brief comment.  Here are two examples:

“The three-week Tour de France is underway. It was more fun when all the bike tires were being punctured because discarded steroid needles were everywhere.”  [Greg Cote, Miami Herald]

And …

Quick hit: If Usain Bolt can’t outrun the coronavirus without a mask, nobody can.”  [Bob Molinaro, Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot]

There is useless and then there is uselessUntil now, I had always considered things like the Associated Press pre-season college football polls – the ones for the teams and the ones for which players will be named All-America at the end of the season – as useless.  As of this morning I would like to place them firmly and irrevocably in the category of USELESSHere is a link to the AP Top 25 pre-season poll for 2020; 40% of the teams listed here will not play college football this year.  Seriously…

Imagine if for some bizarre reason I wanted to list the 10 best steaks ever eaten and somewhere in the middle of the list I put “Mastodon Sirloin”.  Given that mastodons have been extinct for about 10,000 years, you would not have any way to know if that entry on my list has any basis in reality.  Moreover, the entry there should make you think that my list is useless and/or that I, as the creator of the list, am as dumb as a stove bolt.

So much for the 2020 AP Top 25 pre-season college football poll…

Finally, The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm provides a definition for something that many folks consider to be an utterly useless item:

Fruitcake:  A gift given to you last year by people who shrewdly anticipated your needing a doorstop this Christmas.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



5 thoughts on “Rest In Peace, John Thompson, Jr.”

  1. I agree with your assessment of the AP Top 25. That said, Ga Tech plays five of the 15 teams on the list who are actually playing this fall. Tech was 3-9 last year and has almost their entire team back for the 2020 season. They could be substantially improved this year and still not win more than three games.

    1. Correction: I was looking at the pre-COVID-19 schedule for Ga Tech. They only play three of those teams.

  2. RE Fruit Cake…there is a little known aspect of the Christmas Story in that there was a fourth “Wise” Man…he brought a fruit cake.

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