“What sluggards, what cowards have I brought up in my court, who care nothing for their allegiance to their lord. Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest.”

These were the words of King Henry II, of England, when upon learning that Thomas Becket the Archbishop of Canterbury whom Henry had appointed, would not lift the excommunication he had imposed upon the Bishops of London and Salisbury. The dispute between Henry and his archbishop had raged for years.

Four knights, seeking to curry favor with the king, took it on themselves to carry out the perceived desire of the king. They went to Canterbury and slew the archbishop with swords while he was at the altar of the cathedral. Was this what the king wanted? It does not seem to have been. He was shaken by the entire affair and some years later he went to Canterbury and walked the streets barefoot and in sackcloth and ashes. Eighty monks beat him with branches as he made his way to the crypt of the now-canonized Saint Thomas.

Unintended consequences.

th-3It seems to me that, though considerably less serious, a circumstance similar may have happened in the “Deflategate” situation involving Tom Brady (often considered to be saintly in New England) and the New England Patriots.

I wonder whether Brady simply indicated to the attendants in charge of game balls, that he wanted the balls deflated to the lowest possible point, which is how he likes the footballs he uses in games. Something like this may have been uttered:

“Hey, guys, make sure those game balls aren’t inflated too much.”

Seeking to please the four-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, it would be no surprise if the Knights-errant of the locker-room took the opportunity to go “above and beyond” what was actually asked of them.

Possible? Probable?

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