Tom Brady, Fandom and Priorities

September 9, 2015

If you are a sports nut you probably came across an ESPN Boston poll in which 20% of the respondents stated that the judicial decision to throw out the four game suspension of Tom Brady was ” The Best Day of My Life” or as Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy mused, as better than their engagement or wedding, the birth of their child or years of friendship with their “bestie.” Whoa! Now that’s a statistic to ponder for a bit.

The whole Deflategate was a childish sideline to punish the Patriots for cheating (which still may be justified) instead of concentrating on concussion compensation, spousal abuse, performing enhancing drugs and general criminal behavior. But when 20%. of the fans equate the decision to ” Free Brady” with the signature events in most people’s lives that says something about how screwed up football aficionados have become in these parts. Boston was recently named the “best” sports town in America and perhaps this poll gives credence to that status- “best” perhaps meaning misplaced priorities.

The Patriots season starts tomorrow and if the team, the coach and the owner aren’t embroiled in another distracting scandal, the Pats should be headed to the Superbowl again. But as they move toward another championship it would be nice, or more to the point, mature, if the fandom recognized the obvious – football is a game played by men who make a lot of money and really don’t care too much about the adoring fans. Patriots football is not war, anti-terrorism, resettling thousands of sad people or police being executed; no, it is a game.

Changing the sporting habits of the ” Get a Lifers” in the stands and in front of the flat screen television is not in the cards – wives have given in to Sunday afternoons with the boys in their man caves sucking down beers and family time whenever a game is on has become Patriots time. It used to be the phrase most remembered by families on Sunday was, ” The family that prays together, stays together.” That wise proclamation has now been replaced by ” The family that worships the Patriots, rarely talk to each other.” If we could only get our priorities straight.

Watergate and Deflategate

May 12, 2015

This blog entry won’t be long since just about everyone in New England has offered their opinion on Tom Brady, the Patriots and the National Football League. What I will say is that one of the lasting lessons of the political crisis of the Nixon administration, commonly called Watergate, is that often the cover-up is more damning than the crime.

Breaking into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee to steal documents was indeed a crime and low level crooks got arrested and did time. But the Watergate crisis occurred because President Nixon engaged in a cover-up by not releasing documents related to the case, told his underlings to engage in all sorts of legal and political maneuvers to stop the special prosecutor, and likely destroyed a Oval Office recording device that probably held incriminating conversations.

Nixon stonewalled, held fast to his arrogance of power, saw his tormentors as enemies, and in the end brought himself disgrace as he resigned from office.

That was 1974, but Deflategate has many similarities to Watergate – an unwillingness to cooperate with authorities, a refusal to hand over phone texts, outright lies to the press, the prosecutor, the public, and a view that the Patriots are somehow above reproach and deserve to be treated in a special manner.

Sure the PSI of the football is to most fans insignificant ( that really had no impact on the outcome of the game) and Tom Brady is the best quarterback in football ( and a football god in these parts). But when faced with allegations of actions that gave the Patriots a competitive edge during a championship game, what did the all-American hero do? He engaged in a modern day cover-up filled with lies, half truths; he refused to cooperate with the NFL; and  he revealed an arrogant attitude born from the view that he and the Patriots were above the rules. Luckily for Tom Brady, he only got a four game suspension, the team lost two draft picks and owner Bob Kraft, a billionaire, has to pay a million dollar fine. Remember for his cover-up Nixon lost the presidency.