Why Ron Borges should be fired
Cold, Hard Football Facts for Jan 11, 2006
(ColdHardFootballFacts.com and BostonSportsMedia.com have teamed up to demand that the Boston Globe fire football writer Ron Borges. You can read the introduction to this effort here. You can e-mail Boston Globe management by clicking here.)
Boston Globe football writer Ron Borges, the Broadsheet Bully, believes fans dislike him because he expresses unpopular positions and because he challenges the New England Patriots organization and its management at a time when the franchise is hugely successful and popular.
This is simply not true.
Football fans dislike Borges because he's wrong about virtually everything, he lacks basic journalistic standards and he uses his forum with the Boston Globe to bully his subjects, especially those whom he personally dislikes, while currying the favor of his inside sources. In fact, there are many reasons why Borges is perhaps the most unpopular sports reporter in America. There are many reasons, in other words, why Borges should be fired.
These are those reasons.
Borges lacks objectivity
Football fans have long wondered why Borges seems to hammer New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick so hard and so often. After all, the coach has set numerous NFL records, is the only coach in NFL history to win three Super Bowls in four years, has rewritten the book on NFL team management in the salary cap era and is considered by virtually every football expert to be the best coach in the game.
But not in the eyes of Borges, who continues to insist that Tony Dungy of Indianapolis, who has never won an NFL championship, is somehow a better coach.
Well, we discovered why Borges continues to hammer Belichick: He personally dislikes the coach. Football fans have long suspected that this was the case. But it was proven on Friday, Jan. 6, when Borges appeared on ESPN Radio Boston with host Michael Felger. Borges said he's not going to invite Belichick over to his house any time soon, and otherwise admitted his personal distaste for the coach for the first time in a public forum.
Borges makes up things
Why does Borges dislike Belichick? Well, nobody knows but Borges and God apparently.
During that same Jan. 6 radio appearance, Borges implied that he has some dirt on Belichick that nobody else knows about:
"This fellow (Belichick) has cornered the market on convincing people with the help of his friends that no one has ever worked harder than he does and he's out, uh, you know, when everyone else is sleeping, he's working, when everyone else is eating, he's working, uh, I could say something, but I won't ... about uh, how at least some of his time is being spent... "
Does Belichick kick dogs, don a white sheet and burn crosses or plot acts of bio-terrorism? Who knows? Borges did not say. All we know is that Belichick commits acts so dastardly and atrocious that it has forced the Broadsheet Bully to devote his life to exposing the coach as a fraud.
At least one caller to the program, "Bob from Marlboro," questioned Borges about his accusation.
Caller: "Two minutes ago, Ron, you kind of hinted about something else Belichick does, whether or not it be coaching. That's a major scoop on your end. What is it? Answer. I'd like to hear that. Outside of the football world, what is Bill Belichick doing that you don't like?"
Host: "I'm not going to allow this line of questioning."
Borges: "I don't think you should."
Host: "I don't want Ron getting in trouble."
Borges: "You don't have to worry about me."
Borges did not come forth with his information. He simply tossed it out there like a big pile of mud to splatter all over the coach's reputation, and then refused to explain himself. This means there are two possibilities:
- Borges was referring to something intensely personal that doesn't warrant discussion in a public forum and he realized it was inappropriate only after hinting at it. If this is the case, Borges should be raked over the coals for attempting to insert into the public discourse something that does not belong there.
- Borges is simply making something up. What reporter has some personal dirt on a major public figure, admits he has this dirt, yet fails to tell people about it? Do you think the editors at the Globe are happy to hear this? Aren't they paying Borges to report information that only he is able to uncover?
Why would he take an accusatory stance with the coach and then, when pressed about it, say that people should not be allowed to ask him questions on the topic? It stinks of the double standard the media has for itself that drives people crazy. Hey, there's a reason why the media is the most distrusted institution in America. They spend all their time grilling public figures, seeking out dirt that, in many cases, ruins careers and even lives. But when someone dares to question a reporter about an entirely inappropriate statement the reporter has just made in a public forum, they shouldn't be allowed to ask. It's bullshit.
If Borges knows something about Belichick, he should share it, if only because it might resuscitate his own comatose reputation. Borges is wildly unpopular. Belichick is wildly popular. Borges apparently has information that would turn the tables, yet he continues to keep it a secret. Come on, folks, are we supposed to believe that Borges is taking a bullet for Belichick, a person he openly despises?
Of course we're not supposed to believe this. The only rational conclusion one can draw is that Borges fabricated something to fill time on the radio. So, Borges now has two options:
- He could share his information and prove the doubting public wrong, or
- He could apologize for his public fabrication and keep his mouth shut in the future.
Borges is a bully
Borges is also a boxing writer who seems to fancy himself a tough guy – at least if his behavior as a reporter is any indication – and wants everyone to know he's a tough guy.
Former New England coach Pete Carroll often got the bully treatment from Borges, such as the time former linebacker Ted Johnson missed a tackle in a game that New England lost.
Borges berated the coach in the postgame press conference, demanding that Carroll mete out some punishment after – gasp! – a player missed a tackle.
The Broadsheet Bully attempted to flex his muscles most recently on Jan. 6 during that appearance on ESPN Radio Boston. Once again, Belichick was the target of his schoolyard antics:
"Bottom line is, you know, I bet he (Belichick) had a lot of his lunch money taken from him in sixth grade. And you know what? And you know what? I'd have had all his quarters."
Yeah, that is about the most juvenile thing we've ever heard. Borges says that back in school, he would have beaten up the coach and taken all his money. That's called a Bully Complex.
But, hey, it's nothing like beating up a fat, old man who walks with a cane, which is exactly what eyewitnesses say Borges tried to do back in 2004 when he was covering a Bob Arum press conference before a fight card that featured Oscar de la Hoya and Bernard Hopkins. Borges apparently got into a physical altercation with a boxing writer named Michael Katz, who wears a neck brace, walks with a cane, and was described as an overweight man in his 60s.
Here's how New York Daily news reporter Bob Raissman described the scene, which began with a verbal exchange between Katz and Borges:
"Katz: 'Yeah this sounds like a Don King toady, a Don King writer, attacking a guy (Hopkins) Don King hates.'
Borges: 'You need a punch in the face, I'm really sick and tired of your ...'
Katz: 'Shut the (expletive deleted) up.'
"This is when the words turned into actions. Borges reached around and landed a hard open-handed blow on Katz's right cheek. Katz never saw it coming. The shot sent Katz reeling back, separating his head from his beret, which went flying through the air.
Katz: 'You shmuck. How can you hit a cripple?'
Borges: 'You been getting away with that (hiding behind an infirmity) for years.'"
Hey, Borges: Belichick may kick dogs. But at least he doesn't smack aging cripples.
The irony, of course, is that Borges thinks Belichick is the Gridiron Anti-Christ. Yet in the boxing world, he's considered a Don King "toady."
Oh, yeah, and Borges's other big sports management hero, besides Don King? Yes, it's Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders.
Borges is wrong about virtually everything
Every writer, particularly a sports writer, is going to be wrong from time to time. We all understand that. But Borges is habitually wrong, comically wrong and, even worse, is not man enough to admit the errors of his ways when he's egregiously wrong. And it seems he's often purposely wrong, spitefully attempting to drive home his anti-Belichick agenda, such as the time he predicted a 73-0 win by St. Louis over New England in Super Bowl XXXVI.
New England won, 20-17.
There are far too many examples of Borges being wrong to list all of them here. But we'll provide a few. And remember, it's not that Borges is wrong. It's that he's wrong simply in an effort to spite Belichick and the New England organization.
For example, following the 2001 draft, Borges ripped New England for drafting defensive lineman Richard Seymour and offensive lineman Matt Light. He even taunted Belichick with a mock "genius" reference – and this was before Belichick had won a single Super Bowl as a head coach.
Quoth the hack on MSNBC.com: "On a day when they could have had impact players David Terrell or Koren Robinson or the second-best tackle in the draft in Kenyatta Walker, they took Georgia defensive tackle Richard Seymour, who had 1 sack last season in the pass-happy SEC and is too tall to play tackle at 6-6 and too slow to play defensive end. This genius move was followed by trading out of a spot where they could have gotten the last decent receiver in Robert Ferguson and settled for tackle Matt Light, who will not help any time soon."
Seymour is a four-time Pro Bowler who was just named an Associated Press first-team All Pro for the fourth time in his five-year career. And – this must come as a surprise to a keen talent evaluator such as Borges – Seymour has proven one of the most versatile defensive linemen in football: He's adept at playing defensive tackle AND defensive end. Light, meanwhile, started more than 60 straight games before being injured this season and was a stalwart at left tackle, the most important position on the offensive line. Both Seymour and Light have been key contributors during New England's three Super Bowls teams.
Terrell and Ferguson, however, have been outright busts. Robinson has been a bona fide underachiever. Among the four players Borges would have chosen instead of Seymour and Light, only Walker has had a strong career.
Despite the preponderance of evidence that indicates that Borges was wrong about the 2001 draft, he still can't bring himself to admit it. During the Jan. 6 appearance on ESPN Radio Boston, the appearance that should ultimately torpedo his career, Borges insisted that he was "right at the time."
So, Borges was completely wrong in his ability to evaluate the NFL success of virtually every player he mentioned back in 2001. But, in his own mind, he was "right at the time." Hey, we thought the Titanic was going to make it all the way across the Atlantic. Sure, it sunk on its maiden voyage. But we were "right at the time."
Of course, failing to understand the draft is a Borges specialty. Last year, during the 2005 draft, he proved to be among the worst "experts" in the nation when it came to predicting draft picks.
Another Borges specialty is misunderstanding the salary cap. He routinely rips New England for not paying its players enough, as if the organization has an unlimited pile of cash to toss at players.
What Borges fails to understand is that the salary cap creates a finite pie to be shared among all players on a team. For every dollar given to one player, it's essentially taken out of the pocket of another player. His inability to comprehend the salary cap was on display last April, when he wrote about the contract of New England fullback Patrick Pass.
Interestingly enough, Borges ripped the player's agent, yet never contacted the agent to get her side of the story.
Borges also seems to equate paying too much for a player with good management. When New England refuses to pay as much for a player as another team is willing to do, he takes it as a sign that New England is cheap. There is, of course, another possibility: The other team is overpaying for the player. But the Borges default position is always the former: New England is cheap.
During his Jan. 6 appearance on ESPN Radio Boston, Borges said New England management is limited in what it can do in the offseason because it's too close to the salary cap. He didn't realize that this argument contradicts his default argument that New England doesn't pay its players enough.
In an era when New England has won three Super Bowls in four years and is two games away from playing for an unprecedented third straight Super Bowl championship, you would think New England management would get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to personnel decisions. After all, its method is clearly working. New England currently stands on the cusp of NFL history.
But it's all a mystery in the eyes of Borges. In his estimation, New England drafts poorly, doesn't pay its players enough and has an overrated coach and quarterback.
Why is Borges wrong so often? Well, maybe you could blame the sports interns at the Globe. After all, Borges has said they are sometimes given the job of making his expert picks before each NFL game. It explains why Borges has frequently been caught picking one team to win in one medium and another team to win on the pages of the Globe.
That's what happened last year during a TV appearance when Borges picked Indy to beat New England in the playoffs, but then in the paper picked New England to beat Indy. New England won.
Chalk one up for the interns.
Borges is not just a factless hack, he's a tactless hack
Borges took the occasion of the death of Belichick's father, Steve, to debunk the notion of Bill Belichick the "genius."
Hey, Ron: We all know the term "genius" is overused when it applies to NFL coaches. And nobody really believes Belichick is an Einstein-ian mental giant. The term "genius" is, dare we say, a "relative" term when it's applied to football coaches. We all know that. But did you really have to take the occasion of Steve Belichick's death to state your case once again?
Borges routinely insults his readers
What do you say about a reporter who routinely insults his very own readers, the people to whom he owes his livelihood? We'd say he deserves to be fired.
In particular, the Broadsheet Bully is fond of insulting those fans (and other reporters) who admire the play of Tom Brady.
Ever hear of Brady? He's the quarterback of the New England Patriots, someone who has had the most successful first six years in the league of any quarterback in modern NFL history. He has set numerous passing records, won three Super Bowls, earned two Super Bowl MVP awards and has become a darling of American pop culture. His ascension to the level of sports and pop culture icon was cemented last month when Sports Illustrated named Brady 2005 Sportsman of the Year. In the eyes of most people, that's not half bad.
But Borges is unimpressed. On Oct. 7, 2004, Borges appeared on a show called Sports Plus on New England Sports Network. He said anyone who would choose Brady over Colts quarterback Peyton Manning is "an idiot."
Brady has proven to be the best big-game quarterback of our time. Manning has struggled in the playoffs every year he's been there. But if you'd pick Brady over Manning, Borges thinks you're an "idiot." In other words, virtually every Boston Globe reader – along with millions of fans, coaches, scouts and football observers all over the country – is an "idiot."
But New England fans aren't just "idiots." They're "drunk" idiots, said Borges on April 20, 2005, when he appeared with host Eddie Andelman on radio station 1510 AM in Boston.
Andelman: "Well, there would be a revolution if they (New England) didn't (sign Tom Brady)."
Borges: "Well, I don't believe there would be. I used to think that there would be because I use to think that the fans were smart around here, but they're drunk."
So, let's get this straight: Borges admired the intelligence of Patriots fans back when they supported the team through its lean years and rooted for players like Drew Bledsoe, whom many believe was Borges' inside source during the quarterback's years in New England.
But once Bledsoe was traded and Brady ascended to became one of the premier sports icons in the nation, those same football fans suddenly became "idiots" and "drunks."
Borges thinks his job is too hard
Interestingly, it was the 2002 trade of Bledsoe, whom Borges continues to defend to this day, that sparked an increase in the reporter's attacks against the organization. Sports insiders say the loss of Borges' most coveted source (and even his friend) sparked his anger at the organization.
There's a reason, then, why Borges is often first in line to complain about the organization's unwillingness to share information with the media. Other reporters still seem capable of digging up great stories about the team, including Felger and the Boston Globe's Mike Reiss, among others. But Borges just lashes out at the team, asserting that the team does everything it can to make his job as difficult as possible.
New England is, of course, notoriously tight-lipped with the media. But we didn't know "making Ron's life easy" was part of the mission of the New England Patriots. We thought it was Borges' mission to ferret out good stories and the organization's mission to win Super Bowls and sell tickets.
Well, only one party here is succeeding.
Borges knows nothing about athletes
The Broadsheet Bully's adversarial ignorance goes beyond the world of football. In fact, he knows nothing about cycling, either, and is quite vocal about it.
Consider the case of Lance Armstrong. He has won seven straight Tours de France, an event considered by many to be the most demanding and punishing athletic challenge ever created. Because of Armstrong's dominance of this event, most people consider him one of the great athletes of our time. Some might even argue he's the greatest ever.
But not Borges. "Don't try to convince me he's the world's greatest athlete," Borges wrote on MSNBC.com back in 2002. "First try to convince me he's an athlete at all."
There you have it: Armstrong, the guy who cycles up mountain ranges and across entire nations faster than any man on earth, is not an athlete.
There are two conclusions one can draw from this statement: Borges is incompetent and ignorant. Or he writes things not to educate and enlighten people, but simply to get a cheap rise out of them.
In either case, it's an embarrassing indictment of the Broadsheet Bully's method of sports reporting and should not be allowed in publications that take journalism seriously.
Borges is culturally insensitive
Boston Globe reporters, along with its discredited hacks like Borges, are not allowed on sports radio WEEI in Boston. The ban apparently began with something Borges allegedly said on the station back in 1999. According to some sources, he called New York Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu "a fat Jap."
Concerned by the content of the station's programming, the Globe soon banned its reporters, and hacks like Borges, from WEEI.
But Borges simply moved his venom up the dial, where insulting Japanese people, and Asians in general, seems to be a Borges specialty. On May 5, 2005, Borges was on sports radio 1510 in Boston when he had this exchange with a caller.
Caller: "Well, I just have the feeling that Belichick ... we all trust him at this point..."
Borges: "We don't all trust him ..."
Caller: "Most of us trust him ... three Super Bowls, he's got a little bit of a track record around here."
Borges: "Yeah, well, you know, Emperor Hirohito had a big lead in the early days too..."
Hirohito became emperor of Japan in 1926 and ruled the nation during a period in which it attacked the United States and invaded virtually every nation in Asia, slaughtering, raping and enslaving tens of millions of people in the process. Japan's actions under Hirohito have been chronicled in numerous historical works, with names like "The Rape of Nanking." In many Asian countries, he's known as the "Asian Hitler."
So, with one single sentence, Borges smeared Belichick, comparing him to a genocidal emperor, and showed a complete lack of sensitivity toward the hundreds of millions of people who were killed, raped, enslaved, conquered or otherwise adversely affected by the ruination that Hirohito's Japan brought upon their part of the world. A politician who made a joke that insulted gays would be vilified in the pages of the Boston Globe. But Borges insensitively compares New England's football coach to the "Asian Hitler" and still holds a prominent post at the paper.
But, hey, at least Hirohito wasn't a "fat Jap" like Irabu.
Borges misunderstands the role of the media
Borges certainly secured the noose around the neck of his reputation during his suicidal Jan. 6 appearance on ESPN Radio Boston.
The single worst thing he did in the appearance – other than implying that Belichick has a sinister side – was to consider himself a part of the story. We understand that inserting oneself into a story is a grand and glorious tradition among Globe sports writers – a lesson handed down by the late Will McDonough – but it's completely inappropriate for a journalist to do so.
Borges doesn't seem to understand this, as evidenced when he said during his Jan. 6 appearance:
'"You know what I find interesting about this? People always like to do this, say, 'You know, Borges, what do you got against Belichick? Blah, blah, blah.' Anyone ever say 'Hey, Belichick, what do you got against Borges? What's your problem with him? Have you had anything to do with this?' No one ever, ever does it."
Hey, Borges, why should people ask Belichick what he thinks about one of the reporters covering his team? How is this relevant? You are not he story. Belichick is the story. You are simply a medium through which the story is told. If Belichick has a problem with you – and he should – well, tough shit and who cares? If you have issues with Belichick and it affects your writing, well that is a problem, because every one of your readers cares. Obviously, it corrupts your objectivity and your journalistic integrity.
Here's why: Belichick's job is to coach a football team. His opinion of a reporter does not affect his ability to do his job. Your job is to write about Belichick. Your opinion of Belichick does affect your ability to do your job. And, in this case, it affects your ability negatively.
That, Borges, is the difference between a story subject and the medium through which a story is told. Belichick is the former. You are the latter. Maybe a seat back in Journalism 101 might help you out a bit.
Borges is illogical
Borges believes Belichick gets more credit than he deserves. His argument is that New England's players deserve more credit for the organization's success.
There's certainly some merit to this argument. Belichick gets a large percentage of the credit for the team's success. But, of course, Borges can't legitimately make this argument without painting himself into a logistical little corner of his public doghouse.
Borges says Indy's Tony Dungy is a better coach than Belichick.
Borges says Indy's Peyton Manning is a better quarterback than Brady.
Borges, as we have seen, believes New England drafts poorly.
Borges, as we have seen, believes New England doesn't pay its players well.
Despite being handicapped by a second-rate coach and quarterback and by poor drafts and a substandard payroll, New England stands two games removed from playing for an unprecedented third straight Super Bowl victory. This is the same organization that has just set every major winning streak in NFL history: It owns the record for longest regular-season win streak, longest overall win streak and longest postseason win streak. Not bad for a team with all the problems Borges has identified.
Indy, for its part, has yet to reach a single Super Bowl and routinely gets hammered by New England.
Something has to give here, Borges. Either New England management picks better talent, the team has a better quarterback or it has a better coach. Based on the relative success of the two teams, at least two of those things have to go in New England's favor.
You tell us which two.
Borges has brought shame and ridicule to his employer
Ultimately, employers have to make personnel decisions based upon the job their employees are doing.
In this case, and in the final argument, Borges should be fired because he does nothing but bring shame, embarrassment and public ridicule to the Boston Globe.
- His knee-jerk negative response to virtually every move made by the New England Patriots organization does little to educate readers.
- His personal vendetta against New England's coach clouds his ability to report fairly.
- He's habitually inaccurate.
- He beats up cripples.
- He makes up things about the people he covers.
- He makes culturally insensitive comments, a serious transgression at a newspaper that prides itself on its multicultural tolerance.
- He insults the paper's readers.
- He misunderstands his role as a reporter.
- He has painted himself into a logistical corner from which there is no way to emerge, except to admit defeat.
- The Boston Globe's reputation as a fair and accurate newspaper has suffered a damaging blow because of his reporting.
- And, finally, Boston Globe readers deserve better than the Broadsheet Bully.
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