September 13, 2010
In today's edition of "when keeping it real goes wrong," New England Patriots tackle Logan Mankins(notes) reportedly left a $57 million contract on the table because he refused to issue a public apology for making disparaging statements about team owner Bob Kraft.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Mankins and his agent were set to sign a deal with the Patriots that would have kept the Pro Bowl guard in New England for the next seven years. But before finalizing the deal, the club asked Mankins to call owner Bob Kraft and apologize for questioning his ethics this past spring when the player publicly called out Kraft for not living up to his word about negotiating a contract extension last season.
Mankins reportedly called Kraft, the two had a talk and an apology was accepted. But 90 minutes before the contract was to be signed, the Pats evidently asked Mankins to make a public apology. He balked and became even more offended than before. Mankins remained unsigned and didn't play in the Patriots' season-opening win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
In June, here's what Mankins had to say about Kraft and the Patriots:
"I was asked to play ‘09 out, and that they would address the contract during the uncapped year. I'm a team player, I took them at their word, and I felt I played out an undervalued contract.
"That's the big thing. [...] Right now, this is about principle with me and keeping your word and how you treat people. This is what I thought the foundation of the Patriots was built on. Apparently, I was wrong. Growing up, I was taught a man's word is his bond. Obviously this isn't the case with the Patriots."
At first blush it might seem crazy that Mankins is leaving millions upon millions of dollars on the table because he feels slighted, but I applaud the man for sticking to his guns. Say what you will about him, but the guy's got principles. These principles may not be the best move in a financial sense, but why should everything be about money all the time?
The big loser in all this is Kraft. If Mankins is stubborn for not apologizing publicly, then Kraft is petty for making him do so. It's his team, he can do what he wants. But if winning a Super Bowl is the ultimate goal and having Logan Mankins gives the team a better chance to do it, then Bob Kraft should swallow his pride and let this one go.
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