Monday, April 8, 2013

Some business disputes are motivated by other factors (Unitas vs. Unitas)

Derogatory comments about Joe Flacco from a son and grandson of Johnny Unitas? It's not what you think.

While there are some instances in which older sports figures have a high regard for younger players (Don Drysdale held Orel Hershiser in high regard), there are also times when older players have been known to denigrate younger players. This year, a number of former Lakers from the Showtime era did not always have the kindest words for Dwight Howard, for example.

So it may not be surprising that the son and grandson of Baltimore Colts legend Johnny Unitas don't necessarily praise current Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. (If you're a resident of Baltimore, it's appropriate to compare current Ravens to older Colts. The new Colts, who fled Baltimore, are not worthy of consideration.)

In a recent article about a new film about Johnny Unitas, the son and grandson do not praise Flacco.

"If you want a real movie, hire a real actor," wrote J.C. Unitas [Johnny's grandson] on Facebook.

Added the 24-year-old former Villanova quarterback: "My grandfather and his legacy deserves only the best, and this is not it. Has Baltimore forgotten that Trent Dilfer also won a Super Bowl while playing for Baltimore?"

J.C.'s father, John Unitas Jr., calls Flacco a "goofball."

"If you want a quarterback, go with Peyton Manning," John said. "My father was just like that. This is a joke."

But if you dig a little deeper into the story, you see why J.C. Unitas and John Unitas Jr. are critical of the film.

The film, based on a book written by Tom Callahan, is being produced by Johnny's son, Joe, from the quarterback's second marriage. Joe's mother, Sandra Unitas, unsuccessfully sued John Jr., Johnny's eldest son from his first marriage, over control of Unitas Management, which owns the rights to the family name.

Now you can see what's going on. The family from the first marriage owns the rights, and the family from the second marriage is the one who is making the film. And the family from the first marriage isn't happy with anything about the way the film is being made. The casting of Flacco is not the only issue.

Joe Unitas told the Baltimore Sun the projected budget for the film is $12.8 million, and he's seeking "sponsorships" from individual fans to produce the film....

"It disgusts me that one of the son's of my grandfather would put his hands out and ask for donations to make a movie based off of a book that was mostly built off of non-factual events in my grandfather's life," J.C. writes. "Moreover, a movie of my grandfather conceptualized by a son who never saw my grandfather play a down of football.

"The Unitas family is a family that never asked for handouts, although it appears there is a hand out, shaking a proverbial soup can for money to fund a movie."

So Joe Flacco is just a pawn in a family fight.
blog comments powered by Disqus