Eric Kester may be the only guy who's come out ahead from Ballghazi so far.
Over the past week, as the broadcast media have desperately tried to pump air into the deflated-balls scandal, Kester has been the near-ubiquitous voice of firsthand ball-boy expertise. Handsome, personable, and the author of a well-received book (once excerpted here at Deadspin) about his experience at Harvard, he has been brought on by CNN, ABC's Good Morning America, and NBC's Today Show to speak about his extensive work touching, squeezing, and roughing up balls on the sidelines for the Chicago Bears. As he tells it, his career with the Bears gives him unique insight into just what professionals like Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and their minions may or may not have done ahead of the AFC Championship game, and just what advantages they may or may not have derived from it.
Kester's views haven't always been consistent. When talking to CNN's Anderson Cooper, he said, "It really would take a pressure gauge to truly tell that big drop in pressure occurred, whether from the weather or something else." In a sound bite from the same interview that moved on CNN Newsource, he said, "Quarterbacks are particular about the way that the footballs feel in their hand, and a change in pressure can be detectable if you really are feeling for the pressure." Hard to tell, easy to tell; who can say?
No matter: Kester still looks like a winner, because despite any contradictions, and amid all the talk of softer balls and harder balls and rubbing and squeezing hard and soft balls, he speaks as a member of that previously unspoken-for and expert demographic: the ball boys. An op-ed he wrote for The New York Times last fall identified him not only as a former Bears ball boy, but one who is now "writing a book about his experience as an N.F.L. ball boy." What television booker wouldn't want to bring viewers the insights of such an authority?