When I tried to figure out which NFL owner deserved to take over Snyder’s crown several people mentioned Jim Irsay. It made some sense as Irsay is, for an NFL owner, pretty well-known and public-facing. But I never considered him near the top of the worst owners. He’s always been a clownish failson. His crimes are mostly that he has substance abuse problems and that he makes the occasional very bizarre tweet. He wasn’t the man who stole the team from Baltimore, that was his dad. He did hire Jeff Saturday, which still feels like something that came from a fever dream, but again, that’s mostly just failson clown antics, not evil. He never struck me as one of the more evil owners.

Of course as soon as I released that comic about the new worst owner Jim goes and starts publicly feuding with his star running back. Jonathan Taylor was another victim of the current running back systemic market collapse and after seeking a contract he wouldn’t get, he demanded a trade, and things got petty with sniping over social media. Classic stuff.

Now, to be clear, Jim Irsay deciding to save the whales with his own personal money is a completely separate issue from Taylor. Lolita does not count against the salary cap. Frankly, I think Jim using his wealth to give a poor captive whale a better life is good, actually. I wish more rich people did shit like this instead of setting up tax havens through philanthropy (Irsay probably does that too but you take what you can get).  Condemning an orca to a tiny pool for 50 years is cruel. Naming it Lolita is even crueler. Naming anything Lolita is a red flag. I’m glad the whale is getting a second chance thanks to Jim.

But while it doesn’t directly have anything to do with the Taylor situation, nothing in life is so simple. The PR game is not irrelevant. Publicly feuding with a star player, contributing to the underpaid runningback problem while spending a lot of money to save the whale at the same time is, as the kids say, a bad look. It’s a classic Dan Snyder move, trotting out a public display of decency during a scandal to redirect attention. The timing is probably unrelated but it’s still a bad look regardless. Jimmy will pay the whale but he won’t pay the man who sacrifices his body every week for our entertainment and his team.

The runningback problem is a complex series of cascading issues and I think headed for a reckoning soon as all the players are starting to get loud about it. I expect it to be a major discussion point of the next CBA negotiations.

In the meantime, I actually have a theory that Irsay saving the whale is not charity or goodhearted love of marine life. You know about those orcas who have been trashing rich person boats in the Strait of Gibraltar? I think Irsay is trying to hedge his bets and get on their good side so they won’t attack his boat. See? I saved Lolita! Don’t wreck my yacht, go wreck someone else’s.