Insensitive tweet from former NFL exec draws ire of Patriots


A tone-deaf tweet from former NFL executive Joe Browne in the wake of Tuesday’s crash of a Brazilian plane carrying the Chapecoense soccer team drew the ire of the Patriots organization on Tuesday.

Browne, who retired last year after working closely with NFL Commissioners Pete Rozelle, Paul Tagliabue and Roger Goodell during a 50-year run with the league, took the measure of the air disaster that killed 71 and used it as a springboard to make a point about how strong the coalition of NFL owners is.

His since-deleted tweet read:

 NFL club partnership so strong that if there were tragedy similar to Brazilian soccer crash other NFL clubs would restock affected team
— Joe Browne (@JBeonTheHill) November 29, 2016

The Patriots Twitter account, which has 2.7 million followers, took Browne to task for using phrasing that made the players sound like so much chattel.

Browne later deleted the tweet and apologized on Twitter, saying, “Thought I was being informative today re terrible Brazil soccer tragedy but tweet was ill-timed and poorly worded. I've deleted it.” 

Why such a public rebuke of Browne by the Patriots? Because the longtime media relations man, advisor and Washington lobbyist for NFL interests was a longtime loather of the Patriots as I can attest to from personal conversations.

And in the echo chamber that is the league office, a man like Browne who offered counsel and guidance to commissioners was a persuasive voice for decades.

Meanwhile, the chastising tweet sent by the Patriots isn’t the sort that would come from their social media or media relations crew. That kind of finger-wag would have to get ownership level clearance and no doubt did as the Patriots have shown since DeflateGate that they won’t hold back when unloading on specific individuals at the league level that they feel have wronged them.

As for the contingency plan the NFL has in case of a mass tragedy for a franchise, USA Today detailed it in a story posted late Tuesday.

An anonymous league spokesman added, "We do have a long-standing plan in the event NFL players are lost in a common accident. But today is not the day to discuss our plan out of respect for those who lost their lives."

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