MVP by Frederick K Foote

Part I

November 29, 2018, 10:31:03 a.m.

Interview room at the Sports League of America (SLA) headquarters in Dallas, Texas. The room has video and audio recording equipment, a conference table seating twenty, water in plastic bottles on ice with glasses and napkins. In attendance is a court reporter, a camera operator, Elsa Dayton, Chief Investigator for the SLA; John Henry Brown (JHB), running back for the Kansas Kings; Abigail Thornton, attorney for JHB, Tucker Borden agent for JHB

TRANSCRIPT

ELSA DAYTON

Mr. Brown, you are here voluntarily with your attorney, Abigail Thornton of Claxton, Butler and Gorman and your agent, Tucker Borden of TB Sports Agents, LLC. This interview is being audio and video recorded, and there is a court reporter, Albert Alvarez, recording these proceedings. Any transcripts or recordings of this interview will be provided to participants upon request with the understanding that this is a confidential interview and that the recordings and transcripts are the property of the Sports League of America. Mr. Brown, Counselor, Mr. Borden are you ready to proceed?

JOHN HENRY BROWN

Yeah, I want to clear the air, put this behind me. Ah, I haven’t done anything here but protect myself from a crazy or, or drunk, racist woman that attacked me, completely unprovoked. This kind of shit is so unfair.  I’m not a monk. I’m just a normal, everyday, you know ordinary guy. I don’t deserve this.

ELSA DAYTON

This interview is part of an SLA investigation to determine if the SLA should sanction Mr. Brown for behavior that violates SLA personal conduct rules.

ABIGAIL THORNTON

Mr. Brown is here to discuss the rumors alleging he struck a female on or about February 12, 2018, in or near his hotel room in the Atlanta, Georgia Four Seasons. We are here to discuss this event only.

TUCKER BORDEN

John Henry is not guilty of any crime. The police looked into this disturbance and dismissed it. No one is suing John, and there is no individual pointing the finger at him.  This is a waste of our time, but John insists on clearing his good name. We should applaud him for that.

ELSA DAYTON

Mr. Brown, would you tell me about the events of February 12, 2018, at the Four Seasons in Atlanta?

JOHN HENRY BROWN

Okay, well, I got many, many fans in ATL and when I’m in town, I always try to hook up with my people to give back, to meet them face to face, you know, to keep it real. I had a little get-together in my suite. Nothing fancy, you know?

ELSA DAYTON

How did this get-together happen? Did you invite specific individuals or was this an event open to anyone?

JOHN HENRY BROWN

Well, see, it’s like this. I come to ATL or LA or New York, and people know I’m in town. There’s a natural buzz and, and it’s a party. I don’t have to invite people they just come, you know?

ELSA DAYTON

Mr. Brown, are you—

JOHN HENRY BROWN

Call me John Henry. Mr. Brown’s so formal. John Henry, okay?

ELSA DAYTON

If that is your preference. I don’t understand how this party came about. Did anyone who showed up at your door become part of your party?

JOHN HENRY BROWN

Pretty much, I mean, I didn’t let everyone in, just a select few.

ABIGAIL THORNTON

What’s your point here Counselor?

ELSA DAYTON

I’m trying to determine if the alleged victim was an invited guess, an intruder, a trespasser or just a passerby.

JOHN HENRY BROWN

Yeah, I see what you mean. I don’t know, really – she was just there, you know?

ELSA DAYTON

Would you continue, please?

JOHN HENRY BROWN

Sure. Well I didn’t pay this woman enough attention I guess, and she was high or drunk or something, and she was like, “Don’t blow me off, nigger.” Like, she called me that in front of my friends and everyone. Now, she was white. She was a white girl, but I don’t take that shit off anybody. But I was cool. I was cool. I didn’t touch her. I told my man, Rodney, to put her ass out. That’s all I did. That’s it.

ELSA DAYTON

There was no physical contact between you and this woman?

JOHN HENRY BROWN

Yeah, but I didn’t start it. She got away from Rodney and slapped me. I mean, I could have, maybe should have, punched her face in, but I was cool. I just, kind of gave her a little shove to keep her off me. That’s all. That’s it. Rodney escorted her out. That’s the whole thing.

ELSA DAYTON

And Rodney is Rodney Carson, correct?

JOHN HENRY BROWN

Yeah, Rodney and I go way back.

ELSA DAYTON

And Rodney Carson will corroborate your statement?

JOHN HENRY BROWN

Sure. I mean, he saw it all.

ELSA DAYTON

Any other witness that you can recall?

JOHN HENRY BROWN

No. I didn’t know anyone else there that saw the whole thing.

ELSA DAYTON

Could you describe the woman in question?

JOHN HENRY BROWN

Yeah, about five-six, blonde, with glasses. Four eyes. Who wears glasses anymore?

ELSA DAYTON

How old was she?

JOHN HENRY BROWN

Oh, twenty or so. I guess. I mean she was legal if that’s what you getting at.

ELSA DAYTON

Were there drugs as well as alcohol at the get-together?

JOHN HENRY BROWN

Could be. I mean, I don’t use, but each to his own, you know?

ELSA DAYTON

Is there anything else you recall about the event that might help me understand what happened?

JOHN HENRY BROWN

None that I can think of. That’s about it.

ELSA DAYTON

John Henry, thank you for your cooperation. I just have a few more questions. Could you spare us a few more minutes?

JOHN HENRY BROWN

Oh, sure. I mean, this is a nothing thing.

ELSA DAYTON

Did you give Rodney Carson money to buy drugs for your get-together?

ABIGAIL THORNTON

Don’t answer that! What are you trying to do here?

ELSA DAYTON

Mr. Brown, did you direct Rodney Carson to round up a “herd of young stuff?”

ABIGAIL THORNTON

Don’t answer that. We are—

TUCKER BORDEN

Let’s go, John. This is bullshit.

ELSA DAYTON

Mr. Brown, did you know that there were cameras in the hallway of the Four Seasons?

JOHN HENRY BROWN

What? What the fuck? Cameras?

TUCKER BORDEN

So, what? We’re talking about what went on in the hotel room, not in the hallways.

JOHN HENRY BROWN

Yeah, but if you have something from the hallway, I need to see that shit. I have a right to see that.

ELSA DAYTON

Mr. Brown, would you like to sit back down and discuss the hallway incident further?

ABIGAIL THORNTON

No! This is a trap.

TUCKER BORDEN

John let’s get the hell out of here.

ELSA DAYTON

Mr. Brown, you are an MVP, superstar caliber player. You had a record-breaking rookie season. I agree with you that it is time to clear the air and protect your good name. This is not your first or second incident—

TUCKER BORDEN

Dayton, you are a slimy, ambulance chasing bitch.

ABIGAIL THORNTON

This interview is over. Let’s go. Not another word John.

JOHN HENRY BROWN

Whatever. But if you have film or tape… that’s some faked up shit. You know that, right?

**

November 29, 2018, 11:01:03 a.m.

 

END OF TRANSCRIPT

 

 

Part II

November 30, 2018, 2:00 p.m.

The Office of Derek Hail, Vice President of SLA Player Discipline. Hail is present as is SLA Chief Counsel, Marshall Procter, and Chief Investigator Elsa Dayton. They have all reviewed tapes and transcripts from the interview with John Henry Brown

Hail has his feet on his desk, is crushing a tennis ball in his hand, “Elsa, what were you doing in the interview with the age and drug issues? This is a battery allegation with no complainant, no independent witnesses. It’s simple.”

Elsa shakes her head in disagreement. “Nothing about this is simple, Derick. The Kansas Kings and the SLA knew Brown had sexual battery issues in college, Brown punched a guy half his size and twice his age two months ago and—”

Procter waves his unlit cigar as he interrupts, “Irrelevant, bullshit. The past is gone, and this new stuff is unsubstantiated, and we need to move on to other cases. Just put this one on the back burner, and I have some other matters—”

Elsa turns to face Procter, “Procter, the bullshit is this. You made damaged goods, John Henry Brown, a first-round draft pick despite his obvious history. The Kings knew what they were getting. And now you half-ass the investigation. We need to at least make a more serious effort to get the hallway tape.”

“Fuck, Elsa. I tried to get the damn tape. The cops and the hotel stonewalled us. You know that.”

Elsa stands, “That tape will come out, and we will once again look devious or incompetent.”

Procter is on his feet, “Not if you do your goddamn job. You’re the investigator—”

“Well let me do my job. Carson is the front man for John Henry. Carson finds the young willing girls, supplies the party favors and cleans up any mess.”

Hail shouts, “Sit down! Both of you sit down. What about “young” girls? What do you have on that?”

“The word is Brown gets off on the fifteen to seventeen-year-old girls. If we don’t look into this, it will come back and bite us in the ass.”

Hail turns to Procter, “Underage girls and drugs. I think this deserves a longer look.”

Procter is back on his feet. “We have no allegations of that. We deal with allegations. Otherwise, our investigations would spiral out of control.”

Hail turns back to Elsa.

“Shit! I can get the tape. Let me hire, Laurel Jones-Walker. She will get the tape and the details on Brown’s get-togethers.”

Procter is back on his feet. “Hell no. That bitch has no morals. She will steal, blackmail, hack do anything to—”

Elsa is up and face-to-face with Procter. “Procter, do you even hear yourself? You need to give all your investigations to an outside entity. You hamstring my efforts just like you did my predecessor.”

Hail is on his feet. “Unfair Elsa! You knew what the restrictions were when you took your signing bonus.  You need to take a break.”

Elsa takes a deep breath, “Yes. Yes, I do need a break from this rising tide of self-serving duplicity.” She leaves slamming the door behind her.

Hail stands and shrugs, “Looks like we need a new Chief Investigator, Procter.”

Proctor lights his cigar. “No more affirmative action female or people of color hires in that job. Give me somebody I can work with.”

Hail nods in agreement.

Part III

December 3, 2018, 10:31 p.m.

John Henry Brown’s in his downtown LA penthouse with Rodney Carson sipping twelve-year-old Korbel brandy and smoking Lebanese hash.

“Rod, man, do you think they have a tape from the hallway?”

Rod savors his brandy. “True that. The hotel has a tape. The police have the tape, but the SLA doesn’t.”

“How do you know—”

“Man, you pay me to know. That tape will be public in about two hours. The Media Zone is purchasing it as we speak.”

“What the fuck? Why haven’t the cops arrested me?”

“You just spent twenty-four large to take care of that.”

“I did?”

“Yeah, that was a bargain. You spent twice as much on the old dude you popped in the mouth last month.”

“But the tape, that shit in the hallway that’s bad?”

Rod passes the hash pipe, “You punch a nineteen-year-old, ninety-eight-pound white girl in the face and kick her in the ribs when she tries to get up.”

“Fuck! Fuck me! Shit! Man, this is not fair. I worked so fuckin hard to, to get here – fucking cameras. Fucking The Media Zone. Rod, I’m finished before I even get fucking started.”

“Relax, sit down. Chill. I got your back.”

John Henry hurls his brandy glass into the floor-to-ceiling window. “Man, I fucked up!”

“Hey, it ain’t that bad.”

“The fuck it ain’t. That tape, that fucking tape—”

“John, the girl you punched, she’s not going to talk, ever.”

“What? What did you do to her? Rod, you didn’t—”

“No, I didn’t off her or threaten her. I used a carrot not a stick, man.”

“What did you do?”

“Not for you to know. I got a recovery plan that will have you back in the League in less than a year.”

“But if the tape goes public?”

“It will, but you will be back in Little Flower, Louisiana coaching your Catholic High School football team for free and doing other good works.”

“What?”

“And your ‘private, personal’ heartfelt letter of apology will be leaked to the press.”

“I’m going to apologize?”

“You already have. You were very contrite.”

“So, I do the talk shows and the ‘I’m so sorry dance?’”

“No, you talk too much about yourself. People will see right through you. You do no press at all. No media until you’re reinstated. Got that?”

“Fuck, I know how to play the press. I—”

“John, listen to me. You can kill your father and fuck your mother on national TV and still get back to superstar if you play your cards right.”

“Rod, be serious. I wouldn’t—”

“You’re young. You got supreme skills. You give people what they want – Super Nigger with Sunday gridiron super thrills. You make a lot of money for a lot of folks. You’ll be bigger than ever.”

“Rod, man, I don’t know how to thank you—”

“Fifteen percent of your gross income for the first five years back in the League.”

“What the fuck, man? That’s highway robbery.”

“Recovery ain’t free. You gonna make so much, I promise you won’t miss it.”

“Rod, can you really do this?”

“Fuck, yeah. You can grab them by the pussy and get away with it just like number forty-five. Trust me, brother. This is America, the land of opportunity. Just don’t pull no Colin Kaepernick shit.”

John Henry looks thoughtful for a few seconds. “Okay, okay. I hear you. I get it. I’ll leave that Black Lives Matter shit alone. Hey, how—”

Rod’s phone rings. “Listen, John, we gonna be just fine, but I got to take this. This is about your legal recovery, okay?”

Rod steps into the bathroom, closes the door and answers the call, “Elsa Dayton? Thank you for returning my call. Look, could we get lunch? Yeah, see, if you can’t do right you might as well do well. That’ll work. I’ll see you there.”

Part IV

Twenty months later John Henry Brown is the League MVP.

 

Frederick K Foote

Banner Image: Pixabay.com

3 thoughts on “MVP by Frederick K Foote

  1. Hi Fred,
    You have hit on ongoing issues many times within your stories. They are all different situations but the message and observations are the same.
    This not only makes you a skilled writer and perceptive social commentator it makes you a voice that all people from all walks of life need to listen to.
    As Doug has already said, this story isn’t unbelievable, none of them are and that is what is a travesty, not only in this day and age, but at anytime!!
    Excellent as usual!!
    All the very best my friend.
    Hugh

    Like

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