Will the Real Joe Banner Please Stand Up?

When he first came to town to run the Eagles, Joe Banner was known as a smart guy and a generous, sensitive soul. Then Eagles Nation got ahold of him — and made him the most hated man in Philadelphia

Banner would end up going on Howard Eskin’s afternoon show on WIP — against the advice of his PR people — to spend an hour getting hammered by callers. Ike Reese, the host of the show following Eskin’s, introduced his guest, one Brian Dawkins calling in, by saying, We’re going to learn that everything Joe Banner just said is a lie.

Now, at lunch, Banner doesn’t want to relive the whole Dawkins saga, but he says, “I’ll tell you something nobody knows. After Brian signed with Denver, he remarried his wife, and he invited me to the wedding.”

The recommitment ceremony was in Florida, and Banner couldn’t make it.
Then Banner re-creates a simple e-mail exchange he had with Dawkins after he signed with Denver:

Banner: I feel terrible about your leaving and hope that at some point we can sit down and talk and clear the air.
Dawkins: I hope we can do that too. I’m heartbroken about leaving.

These things — the remarriage invitation, the e-mail exchange — might be self-serving. When I ask Banner if he can help me get in touch with Dawkins, he says, “I’m not comfortable reaching out to him now.”

“Are you in communication?”


We’re silent for a moment. Banner pokes at his fries and looks miserable.
In a few minutes, he’ll head back to his rental overlooking the ocean to deal with an erroneous Howard Eskin tweet proclaiming “Say goodbye to vick!!!”

But at the moment, Joe Banner can’t put Brian Dawkins to rest.

Finally he says: “If you asked Brian if he’s disappointed he didn’t finish his career in Philadelphia, it would be an emphatic yes. And do you view Joe as at least part of the reason it didn’t work out — he’s going to say yes. But I do believe — and hope I’m not wrong — if you say, do you respect him, or think he’s a bad person, he’s not going to say anything bad. I would hope. I would be surprised if he says anything bad.”

Brian Dawkins declines to comment. He might be the only one.