WASHINGTON — The New England Patriots showed up in full support of the Boston Celtics against the Washington Wizards in Game 5 on Wednesday evening. Players like Julian Edelman and LeGarrette Blount were joined by coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft.
But an unusual addition to the party was NFL Players’ Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, the head of the NFL players’ union. Of all people, he was seated next to Kraft, one of the most powerful NFL owners on the other side of the negotiating table:
Smith, for his part, was at the game cheering on the Wizards, which had to be a lonely enough endeavor at the TD Garden:
But it’s interesting that Smith was there, potentially as Kraft’s guest. There is relatively strong labor peace at the moment, despite the fact that issues like concussions, the salary cap andd marijuana testing continue to loom large on the horizon.
It should also be noted that Kraft and Smith may have a much cozier understanding, thanks to the fallout of Deflategate. Both parties believe that quarterback Tom Brady was treated unfairly as a result of the investigation.
But even if they agreed on that incident, the strange optics remain. At the end of the day, Smith and Kraft have competing interests as far as NFL money and resources are concerned. Others found it interesting as well: