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"The U.S. Women won their third World Cup on 4th of July weekend and set a ton of records and it was so American it almost hurt. These are some feels we all felt on Sunday."
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brain cancer; or Noah Galloway, a double amputee who lost an arm and leg to a bomb in Iraq and now races in marathons, competes in Crossfit competitions and was a contestant on Dancing With the Stars.
Categorizing someone's courage by ranking it against someone else's is cowardly and shallow-minded. A soldier is brave. A kid with a cancer is brave. A human rights activist is brave. Celebrating one does not diminish the other. The only people diminishing the heroism of Lauren Hill and Noah Galloway are the people who are pitting them as rivals for an award on a television show; as if that's why they fought for their lives and the lives of others. Lauren Hill is no longer here and cannot speak for herself, but I can only imagine that she would never want someone else's bravery degraded in her name.
Some of the most influential women and men in the country's history have been activists who have stood up and owned their identity in the face of ostracism, bigotry and even the law. Cailtyn Jenner could be a much needed catalyst for changing the way Americans view sexuality and femininity in sports. Athletics still carry institutionalized sexism and homophobia that is not in keeping with the progression of the rest of our society. In many ways, sports in the United States are still stuck in the stone age and have largely resisted the massive strides taken over the last twenty years in not only equal rights for women and the LGBT community, but in acceptance for them as well.
According to theInternational Association of Athletics Federations, Jenner's 1976 gold-medal performance is No. 26 on the world all-time list. Let me break that down for you. Jenner's forty-year old Olympic performance for the USA is still considered one of the best performances in a decathlon anywhere on the planet over the last century or so. Now this member of the United States Olympic Hall of Fame (in one of the most grueling tests of athleticism in the Olympics) comes out and tells the world that she has always had the heart and soul of a woman. As a woman, that's incredibly inspirational.
There has never been an athlete that has been able to bridge the gap between the athleticism and strength of the male form and the power and determination of the female mind and heart. It's a perfect, beautiful representation of the oft-doubted competitive capacity of females.
Jenner could not be a more appropriate candidate for an award celebrating courage and leadership among athletes. She is widely recognized across multiple generations, delivered one of our country's all-time great performances in international athletic competition and is a beacon of hope and change for countless souls brutally struggling with gender identity.
Those who behave as if her life could even possibly affect anyone negatively must suffer from incredible insecurities of their own. Here's the truth; it can't affect you or anyone else negatively. It's impossible. If you have feelings of anger or hatred or frustration related to Caitlyn Jenner and her decision to physically become a woman, then it's time you take a look at your life and why you feel entitled to belittle and abuse someone who has done absolutely nothing to affect your life.
News flash: Caitlyn Jenner couldn't avoid the spotlight. Jenner has been famous for nearly forty years and her family is one of the most famous families on planet Earth, so spare everyone the rhetoric about this being a publicity stunt or an attention grab. No one in the Kardashian family sneezes without a paparazzi picture of it. The only way for her to do it on her terms was to do it openly and publicly.
Now that she has debuted her true self I applaud ESPN for taking the opportunity to help transform the landscape of American sports with her story. No one has the right to classify that as unworthy. Caitlyn Jenner is not a choice; she is a triumph.
As the first ever Arthur Ashe Courage Award recipient, a dying Jim Valvano closed his speech with a reminder of what truly made him who he was; and it wasn't his body. His words ring as true today as they ever have.
"I said it before and I'm going to say it again. Cancer can take away all my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind. It cannot touch my heart. And it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever." -Jim Valvano, 1993 ESPY Awards
When it comes to Deflate Gate the fact of the matter is that the truth lies somewhere in the middle of the NFL narrative and the Patriots narrative. If you don’t believe that, you’re invited to stop reading this now because you are in one of two groups of people who are making this story far more important than it is; you are either a Patriots fan who has mistaken blind loyalty for “defending against the haters” or you are a fan of another team who misguidedly views this as some type of vindication for your team not being as good as theirs.
For those of you who stuck around, it’s now time to face the facts. The Patriots have built a cross-decade dynasty that was previously unprecedented in any incarnation of the NFL, which is enough to invite criticism and doubt upon any organization. Additionally, they have spent most of that time indulging in their own intrigue through the Bill Belichick-lead “Patriot Way” that has been viewed as nothing if not elitist and arrogant; albeit effective.
They have not tried to bend to the status quo of the NFL by being transparent and cooperative. They have purposely done things differently. That is the reason for their greatness on the field and it is the reason for the extreme level of scrutiny they are undergoing right now. There is a basis for why everyone hates perennial winners and it’s not just because of the championship rings.
In order to achieve inordinate success there are always at least a few people who are willing to do whatever it takes. And doing whatever it takes rarely includes exhibiting the qualities of likeable people. This effect is on display in every facet of American success across all industries.
People don’t hate the Patriots because they think air pressure in their footballs helped them win Super Bowls. That is an absurd notion. The Patriots do what most teams in all leagues do; they bend the rules when they think they can. It’s a human instinct to push the envelope. The saying “rules were meant to be broken” was not invented by Belichick. We can’t help ourselves.
Every time you go on Facebook at work, take fifteen extra minutes on your break, lie about your inter-office relationship or call in sick so that you can go on a three-day weekend, you are breaking the rules of your institution for no other reason than because you can and because everyone does it. When you get caught, everyone puts their head down and shuts up because they don’t want to be next. You accept the write-up that goes in your file and you move along with your day. It’s that sentiment that should be able to gather people who both love and loathe the Patriots to meet in the middle.
The Patriots know people don’t like them. They have become our generation’s Yankees and Patriots fans need to accept that, especially because the Patriots don’t have the over-the-top rule-breaking George Steinbrenner. They have the nearly opposite. Robert Kraft is largely responsible for putting Roger Goodell in his position as commissioner and keeping him there. That is where the Patriots made their biggest mistake, and if you want a very good reason to hate them then that one is it.
You should absolutely be angry at the Patriots organization for any role they played in keeping Goodell in power, because he is a far greater danger to this precious pastime than Tom Brady or Belichick or Kraft. You can want the Patriots to be fined. You can even want to see Brady knocked down a couple pegs if that will make you feel better, but you should definitely not accept this circus act that has been put on by the NFL.
The penalties against the Patriots are in many ways contradictory to the Wells report’s assertion that Belichick and Kraft had no knowledge of the probable transgressions of Brady, Jim McNally and John Jastremski. Yet they have been handed a $1 million dollar fine and docked a first-round and fourth-round draft pick.
If the Wells report is to be believed, then Brady had enough knowledge about the deflating of game balls that he can be punished by the league according to the NFL handbook. Hard to argue with that, as the report certainly offers enough evidence to garner him a two-game suspension on those grounds. Yet the NFL has admitted that Brady’s unwillingness to cooperate with their investigation by handing over his cell phone was a mitigating factor in the severity of his punishment. According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network (among others), the extra two games added onto his suspension were due to that lack of cooperation. That’s essentially admitting that without violating his constitutional rights, you could not come to a definitive conclusion.
What is there to miss here? Give him a two-game suspension, fine the Patriots a nice hefty, precedent-setting 250 thousand dollars for not maintaining institutional control within their organization and call it a day.
But that’s not what it’s about for the NFL and Roger Goodell, and that is a terrifying proposition. This is not about protecting the integrity of the league. This is not about fairness. It is about proving who is boss by attempting to strong-arm one of your biggest allies and his future first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback into blindly handing over everything you ask for in an investigation that is clearly looking to find you guilty.
Meanwhile, this is not an investigation about criminal behavior or institutional steroid use or gambling or any other multitude of issues that have plagued American sports for decades. No, it’s an investigation into the manipulation of PSI in footballs; a topic that was such a non-issue prior to the AFC Championship game that almost every sports fan and member of the media in the United States had to look up what PSI was, or at the very least what it had to do with football.
If Brady broke the rules then some type of sanction is appropriate. It didn’t help him win Super Bowls or any other games for that matter, but that’s not the point. The point is that when you break the rules and get caught then a punishment generally follows. He is the dude who got caught on Facebook while everybody else put their head down and erased their browser history. Fine.
By all means hate the Patriots and Brady and Belichick and pray that you get to watch them crumble. That’s how sports works and if watching the Patriots squirm is giving you butterflies in your stomach then you can hardly be blamed for that.
Just don’t condone this behavior by the NFL by mistaking it for justice. Treating Brady like a criminal for breaking equipment rules doesn't make up for allowing hundreds of other criminals to play in the NFL every day so that the league can make millions. The NFL is making the rules up as they go with no regard for precedent or even the law, and that should be unacceptable to the fans who sustain their precious league. If you are going to hold the Patriots accountable then hold the league accountable too, and stop giving them the validation they are trying so desperately to manipulate out of you.
It’s unusually cool and cloudy for an April day in Santa Monica. It’s almost exactly the kind of weather that I’ve experienced on many a Patriot’s Day in Massachusetts. Patriot’s Day is more festival than holiday; a day when citizens and visitors can watch the Red Sox play at 11am and cheer on the thousands running through the city streets in the country’s most prestigious marathon.
I wish I were there today, but I am grateful that somehow it seems that Los Angeles is making its own tribute to Boston in the form of the weather.
I find that indulging in nostalgia too often can lend itself to missed opportunities to love the place that you are in the present, so I try to reserve those moments for when they are truly deserved. Today, in honor of the best day of the year for athletic tradition in Boston I felt it appropriate to reflect on how much those streets really do mean to me.
Many of my best moments of thought and reflection were spent walking the streets of Boston. The only time I have come close to that out here is on the beach walk from Santa Monica toward Venice just at the start of sunset. It’s magnificent and calming and reminds me to be enormously thankful for the blessings that allow me to live here.
But that was how I always felt when I walked through Boston. Even in my hurries. Even when rushing through traffic to get to the Garden for work or after a 30-minute adventure trying to park on Hanover Street. Once I was there and free from the maddening frustration of being on wheels in Boston, it was damn near impossible to be upset about anything.
It did something special for my consciousness. I found a special type of peace whenever I walked the city, whether I was by myself or with others.
I viscerally remember my ambles along the ocean in the seaport or past the Italian cafes in the North End. I loved navigating the cobblestone streets on Beacon Hill and near Faneuil Hall or strolling the tree-lined streets and brick of Newbury St. I even liked pushing my way along the crowded pub-filled sidewalks of Landsdowne and Yawkey.
This may sound like a bunch of poetic memory that has been generously rewritten in my mind with time and 3,000 miles. I promise you that it’s not. Some of it I’m sure can be credited to the fact that I was young and vibrant in my enthusiasm for being on my own in one of the greatest cities in the world. But I’m still young and vibrant so I know it wasn’t just that.
I felt it as a teenager, taking the commuter rail to the Patriots and Red Sox parades. I felt it as a college kid, celebrating my 21st birthday at Fanueil Hall and taking buses from my college campus to the bars near Causeway Street. I felt it when I’d go to the theater district to see a show with my mom or to the TD Garden to watch the Bruins with my stepdad.
I stood by myself in line for a concert at the House of Blues, attempting to go over the bizarre circumstances of my relationship in my head after I’d been ditched by my off-again boyfriend. It was the type of moment that generally would’ve forced me into a cab on my way home to drink wine and cry. Yet standing in an alley staring at the ugly backside of Fenway Park’s walls while sound check murmured behind the closed doors was a quintessential Boston-music-fan moment for me, and it made me feel calm and grateful.
It wasn’t just the thrill of being in the big city. It was just Boston.
One of my last memories of walking through the city before I moved was parking just around the corner from Fenway Park and walking to an academic building on the Boston University campus as a guest speaker about life as a young professional in sports media. It was the culmination of a lot of important things in my life, just as I was about to embark on a massive new journey.
I remember the exact shade of grey of the pavement on the sidewalk, and the faint waft of pub food from the bars around the corner. My heels were killing my feet. Once my ego had been fed by a bunch of enthusiastic college kids I went to meet my friends for dinner at a Mexican place nearby.
Yes, I believe my last meal in the city of Boston before I moved to Los Angeles was at a Mexican joint. How apropos.
It was one of the only times I can remember not loving my walk through Boston, because I knew it would be one of my last for a while. It was bittersweet.
The streets of Boston, the heart of the people running in them and lining their sidewalks and the history of this day are powerful. It is an experience that is inimitable, just as the city itself is. I have been away long enough now that these memories have become important keepsakes. I had them tucked them away in a safe place so I could take them out when I want to feel a little piece of “home.”
I took them out for the first time today. Thank you for taking that trip back home with me. I love you always, Boston.
In case you haven’t heard by now, McHenry is a D.C.-based reporter for ESPN that recently had the misfortune of having an ugly, expletive fueled rant at a towing facility videotaped and released to the public to go viral. She has been suspended one week by ESPN and has since issued an apology on Twitter.
“In an intense and stressful moment, I allowed my emotions to get the best of me and said some insulting and regrettable things," McHenry wrote.
"As frustrated as I was, I should always choose to be respectful and take the high road. I am so sorry for my actions and will learn from this mistake."
People I love and respect very much have sent me links with articles featuring the Britt McHenry video and remarked that perhaps this doesn’t help the cause for women in sports. Seriously though, let’s not even go there.
If public incidents were an indication of ineptitude in the sports television industry, ESPN would have been the one-woman 24-hour Robin Roberts channel a long time ago. Women in the industry have enough hurdles to clear without being held accountable for one woman’s rant after her car was towed.
In fact, I don’t think McHenry herself is accountable to anyone but the employee she berated. She didn’t break the law. She didn’t cross a physical boundary. She didn’t break a major moral code of conduct. She was insolent and crude to a person at a place where people are insolent and crude on a regular basis.
The reason I want people to empathize with McHenry is because the things that really irked people within her verbal assault are a direct reflection of the image of that society and her employer push on her every day.
Being a female in a sports newsroom or on a sideline you learn very quickly that these two things are extremely important to your success: how you look, and where you went to school. Obviously women across all industries deal with this, but it is particularly represented on a microcosmic level in TV. It is reiterated persistently in every aspect of the work day.
The way McHenry looks and her Northwestern education were paramount to her achieving her position at ESPN. She may be a great reporter, but those two factors were more than likely a too-large majority for why she was awarded her highly-coveted position. If I know that, then she knows that.
McHenry grew up in a society that already over-emphasizes the fact that being attractive and going to the best school and having the best grades and maybe even being on television is directly correlated to ultimate success. So she went to one of the best journalism schools in the country, worked nights and weekends to prove herself and made sure she always looked as perfect as possible. Then ESPN validated all of that for her by offering her this chance at her dream job.
So now she receives feedback on social media every single day about her physical appearance and how that may or may not affect her ability to do her job. People constantly make the way she looks a focal point of her day. And it’s not just people on social media. It’s her coworkers, her bosses and her bosses’ bosses. It’s the other reporters and writers and producers in the field. It’s the athletes that she is interviewing.
The incessant commentary on her face, her hair, her body, her makeup, her outfits and her place within the ranks of other attractive female reporters is relentless. Despite the fact that this incident has caused a media frenzy over the last few days, these were links found on page one of the google search “Britt McHenry hot”.
Stunning Photos of Sports Reporter Britt McHenry
Hot pictures of ESPN reporter Britt McHenry from Instagram
Britt McHenry hot photos
Britt McHenry hot Instagram photos
So now you put her in a situation where she is angry because her car was towed (which is how everyone reacts when their car is towed), and she is probably feeling victimized in some way by this inconvenience. For context, check out the Yelp! Reviews of this place. There is a strong possibility that she was the target of some unethical business practices. Add that to the normal tow-related stress and now most people are on their last nerve.
So in her rage, she asserts her superiority by drawing from what everyone around her tells her is worth valuing about herself; her looks, her education and her job that she attained through said looks and education. She may have been in the wrong, but she is still a human being whose adult life has been shaped entirely by those two very shallow signifiers of self-worth.
Whether she had a right to get that angry, I cannot say. But it seems a little unfair that now everyone decides to say “Wait a second, Britt. We can all talk about how hot you are and tell you that you need to be smart and pretty simultaneously in order to win our approval. It’s our right to assert that unnecessarily, not yours.”
I don’t follow that logic.
The there’s this gem from Deadspin: Britt McHenry has a history of being rude. Are you kidding me? Am I the only person on the planet that thinks that pointing out that someone in the entertainment industry is rude is redundant? Not only do I not care, but that applies to so many people who do that job that it just ends up looking a little more than biased when you single one person out for it.
Especially when you make the mistake of using Bill Simmons and KEITH OLBERMANN as examples of people who don’t need “camps” to speak on their behalf. Excuse me Deadspin, but do you really want to go down the Simmons/Olbermann white-dudes-who-are-inexplicably-still-employed-and-paid-exorbitant-amounts-of-money-by-ESPN rabbit hole right now?
I didn’t think so.
The human characteristic of being rude is something everyone encounters on a daily basis. But being rude to a random person outside of work does not get you suspended from your job. It just makes you a jerk. Maybe McHenry is just a jerk who is full of herself and thinks she is better than other people and treats most strangers this way. If she is, then she fits right in with a large majority of people that are standing on the sideline right along with her.
Or maybe she's not that much more rude that the next guy. Maybe she just gets defensive and derisive when her integrity is attacked and she got caught in a pretty low moment on a video camera. If I turn on the TV right now, within minutes I could find a semi-famous millionaire screaming obscenities and throwing a glass at someone’s face before security interferes. And I could find that on various different shows on multiple channels.
Maybe we are misplacing our societal outrage.
The first installment deals with Russell Westbrook, sad Patriots fans, lame NFL investigations and opining as to why their commissioner is the only one of the four major sports that is not a lawyer.
"For the past sixteen years, Jon Stewart's biting wit and charismatic sarcasm have helped us sift through the arrogance and pretentiousness of a TV news industry over-saturated with analysts and pundits. Although he is best known for pioneering and perfecting late-night political satire, he is also known for occasionally issuing honest and sometimes scathing take-downs of America's favorite pastimes."
Check it out here!!
The last time the Patriots won a Super Bowl before this past Sunday was on February 6, 2005. I was at that important milestone age of eighteen years old; as were LeGarrette Blount, Kyle Arrington, Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell and Ryan Wendell. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick were still in their early prime after nabbing their third Super Bowl win in four seasons. No one would have thought that their journey to a fourth Super Bowl victory would span a decade.
Yet it is 2015 and Brady and Belichick have won their fourth Super Bowl in six appearances across fourteen years. Their sustained success across that length of time with multiple generations of NFL players is one of the greatest accomplishments by any team in the history of American sports.
I was a few months from graduating high school and beginning my first year as a Communication Studies major at Merrimack College in North Andover, MA later that fall. At the same time, LeGarrette Blount was making plans to start his collegiate football career at East Mississippi Community College because he hadn't been recruited.
Julian Edelman wasn’t recruited either, so his transition out of high school in Woodside, CA and into the real world later that year would also begin via community college at the College of San Mateo. Three hours southeast of Edelman in Fresno, CA, Ryan Wendell had just finished his freshman season with the Fresno State Bulldogs.
Kyle Arrington had also recently logged his first college football season at Hofstra in Hempstead, NY. Brandon LaFell was being highly recruited out of high school, and would redshirt as a true freshman that ensuing fall at LSU.
While they were all kids in the early stages of chasing their dreams, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady were already being hailed as possibly the greatest coaching-QB duo of all-time. Hall of Fame status for both of them was a regular topic of discussion. In 2007, after the SpyGate scandal attempted to tarnish the shine of their Super Bowl dynasty earlier, the Patriots rode the first 16-0 regular season all the way back to the Super Bowl.
But they finished 18-1. That’s when the second half of Brady’s career really began. The first seven seasons of his tenure as a starting quarterback were as great as any QB had produced in the history of the NFL. The second seven were a little more humbling.
Among the first of the additions to the post-Golden-Era Patriots in 2008 was the undrafted Wendell. Arrington, whose alma mater’s football program is now defunct, also went undrafted in 2008. In 2009, the Patriots drafted Edelman in the seventh round. Blount went undrafted in 2010 after a controversy-riddled college career left many feeling he was more of a liability than an asset. LaFell was drafted in the third round by the Carolina Panthers that same year.
Those five members of the Super Bowl XLIX Champion New England Patriots were were at that amazing, promising age of eighteen when the the Patriots last won, with no clue that the next ten years of their lives would culminate alongside Brady and Belichick under red, white and blue confetti.
The group of players dumping Gatorade on Belichick’s head in Glendale, Arizona in 2015 were impossibly improbable successors to the original Patriots’ dynasty. The Pats hoisted their third trophy while their heirs were kids that were watching from their parents’ basements and freshman dorm rooms. Kids who fought and faced adversity and screwed up and had flashes of brilliance. Kids that were undrafted, undrafted, drafted in seventh round, undrafted and drafted in the third round.
In 2005, it would have been inconceivable that a couple of teenagers about to play football at community college would be the leading rusher and wide receiver in Tom Brady’s fourth Super Bowl win. It would have been stunning to know that years after Tedy Bruschi, Willie McGinest, Troy Brown and Rodney Harrison had hung up their cleats and become veteran NFL analysts that Tom Brady would still be winning Super Bowls.
I certainly never imagined I’d be 28 years old writing viral columns covering the Patriots road to their sixth Super Bowl with the same coach and quarterback that I’d written about while honing my early skills in my Plymouth South High School journalism class. It’s implausible at best.
Because the Patriots adjusted and pushed and believed in young and prospering talent, they turned what could have been a four year dynasty into one that has spanned a decade and a half. That's why the Brady/Belichick-era Patriots are one of the greatest dynasties ever; and the man that won his third Super Bowl MVP on Sunday, surrounded by those wistful teenagers of 2005, is the greatest quarterback of all time.
If you are a football fan that feels as though the Patriots have hurt the integrity of your precious sport with the PSI of a game ball, or a member of the media who took to your laptops and the airwaves to editorialize your distrust of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady and Bob Kraft, then you should be mad right now; because the NFL played you like a fiddle.
They made a mockery of you. They dangled the bait in front of you and you snapped it up so quickly and with so much vigor that they haven’t even had to come out and speak to you and answer your questions; because you haven’t even asked them to.
And they knew that you wouldn’t.
They dared you to inundate an entire team of athletes and personnel with accusations based on your lingering distrust of Bill Belichick post-SpyGate; distrust that constantly leaves you calling for his resignation and/or the confiscation of his Super Bowl rings despite the fact that you have failed to exhibit the same vitriol for the also-highly-decorated Jimmy Johnson who admitted to doing the same exact thing.
You went on the radio and the internet and TV and indicted the Patriots based on nothing other than a couple of flimsy reports and an announcement of an investigation. You did that knowing that despite it being enough of a story that Belichick and Brady were at the podium talking to you about it, the NFL had inexplicably failed to even have a conversation with Brady yet. You did that knowing that this is the same exact league and Commissioner whose credibility you’d spent most of the season dismantling.
You wanted and needed so badly to believe that the Patriots couldn’t possibly be the dynasty that has reigned supreme over the last fourteen years that you gave the NFL the benefit of the doubt.
The league that tried to cover up their knowledge of a video of Ray Rice knocking his fiancé unconscious with a punch to the face, then had their Commissioner stand up in front of you and dare you to try to make him pay any consequences for it.
The league that, in the interest of financial gain, ignored and covered up the brutal health implications of playing for them until a beloved Hall of Fame linebacker killed himself and donated his brain to science in the hopes that it may save the lives of other players.
Why has it not also been shoved down your throats that they’re investigating the Browns for illegal use of electronic devices for sideline communication, or that the Chargers were fined in 2012 for cheating through illegal use of towels with a hidden substance? Where was the viral outrage when the Cowboys and Redskins were fined millions in cap dollars after being found guilty of purposely dumping salaries into the uncapped year in 2010?
Wait, you will love this one. Why didn’t the NFL deem it necessary to make quarterbacks and coaches speak to their accountability and respect for the integrity of the game when just TWO MONTHS AGO they caught the Vikings heating game balls on the sideline in a 12-degree game against the Panthers after they supposedly reminded both teams that it was illegal to do so? (Full credit and big thanks to Pats Krieg for compiling these.)
The NFL’s brilliant leaking of a “possible” Patriots scandal was enough to incite such a frenzy that you immediately repudiated the trustworthiness of Brady; one of the NFL’s pillars of sportsmanship and someone who has never previously been accused of being a cheater (or drug-user or rapist or animal endangerer or criminal of any kind). Not only did you question him but you attacked him. With nearly no provocation and armed with only a vague statement from an NFL spokesperson and unofficial reports from other sources, you labeled Brady a liar and a cheater.
After he told you that he didn’t do anything wrong and stood and answered your questions for 35 minutes, you came on television and arrogantly rattled on about “disappointment” in him; disappointment based on the inflation level of game balls that almost every single current and former player agrees is a non-issue. That consensus is further backed up by the lack of outrage when the aforementioned ball-tampering in Minnesota popped up in November of 2014.
Aaron Rodgers admitted that he hopes his purposely over-inflated balls sneak by the referees’ inspection, and you dismissed that as not cheating. Because you know that the pressure of the balls does not win you NFL games. You aren’t mad about deflation or inflation; you just want to hate the Patriots.
The problem is that if you do think that the Patriots benefit from ball pressure, then Rodgers just told you that he does too. You’re not going to start a war against Rodgers, so you make it about principle. It’s “the principle” of the matter.
Okay. That’s what they were figuring you would do.
So now we are nine days into this thing while fast approaching the Super Bowl, and the NFL has not even had to come out and actually call the Patriots cheaters. Nor have they addressed the issue directly to the media or the public. A spokesperson confirmed that there was an investigation. Then five days ago the NFL released a statement that took three paragraphs to say exactly what the spokesperson had confirmed: that they are investigating. The only notable addition was to note that the Patriots are cooperating fully with said investigation as well as a particularly preposterous paragraph in which they explain the reconnaissance mission in terms more suited for the script of an episode of CSI.
The fact that you so willingly fell into this trap is a testament to just how much power the NFL has over you. They handed you the narrative that they knew you wanted. They figured they could solve the “indignity” that the league had suffered at the hands of the mighty cheating Patriots by throwing the book at the "bad guys”. They’d even do it to Bob Kraft to show you how they don’t play favorites.
What better way to help solve an image issue than align yourself with the masses against a common enemy? Bravo to Goodell. He "cracked down" on cheating without further angering any of the NFL owners that already don't like him.
You bought it hook, line and sinker because you're under the delusion that your team is all clear eyes-full hearts and has somehow been victimized by this. It is one thing to buy into a perfectly timed PR stunt. It’s another thing entirely to fall into the ignorant space between conspiracy and reality that enables you to continuously denounce the NFL and its most successful franchise as cheaters and liars, yet still voraciously consume their product that they've pitted you against.
The only way that this league will change for the better is if you stop letting the NFL take you for such fools.
| Tanya Ray Fox |