It should not be this difficult to determine the truth.
By now, anyone in the media or the fan base who still believes the lie that Jack Easterby wields no authority inside the Houston Texans is either a sycophant or an ignoramus. As we've reported in this space for quite some time, Easterby is deeply involved in "the spider web'' of Texans' decision-making - and those decisions include who was to be hired as the GM, who will be hired as the coach and how Deshaun Watson suddenly became disgruntled.
These issues are clear.
Other lies, however, come in shades of gray, which takes us to the latest Sports Illustrated expose on the"executive vice president of football operations'' Easterby - and his counterattack on SI.
SI can claim it has caught Easterby in three (alleged) lies related to his response to the unflattering in-print portrayals. Those (alleged) lies:
1) According to Greg Bishop and Jenny Vrentas, Easterby - who worked for the Patriots for six years as their "character coach'' before his unusual rise to power in Houston, claims New England chairman Robert Kraft and his family are behind the negative stories - and that Kraft is an SI investors.
Responds SI: That is ... untrue: SI has no financial relationship with the Krafts or any of their business ventures, including the Patriots.
2) Three sources also told Bishop and Vrentas that Easterby plans to sue SI for defamation and was given a list of the sources who contributed to the story as a result.
Responds SI: That is untrue: SI has not been notified of any lawsuit nor disclosed the identity of any of its sources.
3) Easterby tells SI, “It is my understanding Nick is running things here in Houston.”
And we'll respond to this: The reason the Texans have been divided, in the opinion of everybody from Andre Johnson to Deshaun Watson, is Easterby. His disingenuous responses to simple questions feed that divide. "It is my understanding'' is a weirdly vague way to address the responsibilities of one's boss. Shouldn't he know? Shouldn't he be able to say it clearly, boldly, proudly?
And new GM Nick Caserio is Easterby's boss. Isn't he?
We would not dare argue that Easterby is seeking martyrdom - or even lying - by letting it be known that he's received death threats. We would not necessarily label Easterby's characterization of Texans players are "supportive'' of him as a lie; maybe he just doesn't know how to read a room.
But we can without hesitation pin the blame for the Deshaun disgruntlement on Easterby; he (and his agent Bob LaMonte) drove the hiring of Caserio and continue driving the search for a head coach, and they did so without the promised involvement of the locker-room leader.
Anything short of the Texans admitting that is a lie, another mistruth on a stacked-up pile of them on Jack Easterby's "executive vice president of football operations'' NRG Stadium desk.