Lord knows Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco doesn’t need me (or anyone else in the world right now) to speak up for him.
The Super Bowl XLVII MVP is doing just fine, thank you. After silencing his critics (except for a handful of analysts who refuse to accept fact and continue to live in a world where continuing their narrative is more important than actually analyzing what happens on a football field) in a postseason run for the ages, Flacco signed what is still technically for the moment the richest contract in NFL history. Since then, the Ravens have made a series of personnel moves that have made it clear the quarterback isn’t just the future of the franchise but very much the present.
By no means is there anything other than the brightest rays of sunshine in Joe Flacco’s life.
This weekend brought a strange turn however, as the seemingly incredibly cool news that Flacco would shoot the football scenes of an upcoming Johnny Unitas biopic in the role of the Hall of Fame Baltimore Colts QB. The project, “Unitas We Stand” is being produced on a smaller budget by Joe Unitas, one of the sons of “Johnny U”, the screen play based on the book “Johnny U” by Tom Callahan.
My initial reaction to the news was something along the lines of “this is one of the neatest Baltimore things I’ve ever heard…ever.”
My personal reaction to the news hasn’t changed much since that first response, but the story took an ugly turn Sunday as other members of the Unitas family weighed in on the involvement of the Ravens’ signal caller.
J.C. Unitas, the grandson of Johnny Unitas and son of John Unitas Jr. said on Facebook “If you want a real movie, hire a real actor. 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?”
Unitas Jr. described Flacco to USA Today as a “goofball”, adding “if you want a quarterback, go with Peyton Manning. My father was just like that. This is a joke.”
The quotes make public on a national scale what has been known on a much smaller scale for years; there is a major rift between the children of Baltimore’s greatest quarterback’s two wives. After the Hall of Famer’s death, his widow Sandra Unitas seized control of the marketing company representing his likeness from John Jr. John Jr. sued to regain control of the company and a divide was created in the relationship between the five children Unitas had from his first marriage (including John Jr.) and the three from his second marriage (including Joe).
John Unitas Jr. once told the Baltimore Sun “she is nothing to me” about Sandra Unitas. I can tell you (while choosing to avoid specifics because I don’t think they serve much of a purpose) that I have heard him use much worse terms to describe her in private conversations.
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