Wednesday, May 13, 2015

DeflateGate Musing, By The Talking Points

As reactions continue to hit over the NFL's attempted smackdown of the Patriots in re DeflateGate, I feel the need to issue some corrections to the following talking points that seem to be carrying the day.

> Robert Kraft is no longer buddies with Roger Goodell, and there will be hell to pay.

The scandal has lead some to wonder if Kraft is going to go full Al Davis and sue the league, and me to wonder if we've lost the technology with which to go soak one's head. Davis did not give a damn what anyone thought of him, and never made any bones about his disdain for the media (a major reason, by the way, as to why the Raiders were so beloved by so many). Kraft isn't that guy, and Goodell isn't nearly as bulletproof or Teflon-riffic as Pete Rozelle was, back in the day.

Instead, Kraft is going to set himself up here as the wrongfully aggrieved party who will take the high ground, and try to outlive the commissioner. Given how there isn't a month that goes by without Goodell infuriating someone with his very nature of being, this is a sound bet. Kraft's going to undermine Goodell with other owners, over the long haul. He's not going to stand in court and make it obvious.

> The punishment was incredibly harsh.

Perhaps some need to look up the definition of the word "incredibly." Incredibly harsh would have been a lifetime ban of Brady or HC Bill Belichick, rather than just a couple of clubhouse flunkies. Incredibly harsh would have been a negation of the Super Bowl title, along the lines of what the NCAA did with USC and Reggie Bush's Heisman. Incredibly harsh is not two draft picks, four games and a million bucks for a franchise that probably makes that much before breakfast, and is a prime destination for top tier free agents, who also take less than market value to sign with a winner.

I get that Patriot Fan thinks that this was draconian. If it happened to my laundry, I might think the same. But we'd both do well to go look at what happened to the Saints in re Bountygate, or what Kenesaw Mountain Landis did to the White Sox in the 1920s. When teams go up against commissioners, it can get a lot worse than this.

> The Patriots are being unduly punished by jealous rivals for their success.

It's understood by even the most rabid Pats fan that their franchise has been convicted of repeat offenses, right? That's reached the level of accepted fact, no? The name Aaron Hernandez hasn't completely gone down the memory hole in the wake of more recent travesties, and when a franchise employs a remarkably terrible human being, some of that reflects on them. Finally, what is the color of the sky in your world, where a repeat offender doesn't get a deeper punishment?

The Patriots are the de facto home team for ESPN, given the relative proximity of Bristol to Boston's teams. They are the closest thing to a dynasty in this era of NFL football, and NFL football is the closest thing to a dynasty in this era of American sports. Like Dallas, everything is bigger here, independent of any tendency of their fans to drama queen status.

It does not matter that Kraft used to be tight with Goodell. It really does not matter that the franchise enjoys positive PR and media tongue baths, or that they seem much more grown up in a division where multiple teams have employed Rex Ryan and Richie Incognito. If the Colts weren't eager to rat them out for anything, it would have been the Ravens, or a half dozen other teams.

Oh, and if you think it's uniquely unfair that people are lumping this in with Spygate and the snowplow incident for the field goal against Miami some 30-odd years ago as a franchise-wide tendency towards chicanery? Ask Philly Fan about Santa and the snowballs, or San Francisco Giants Fan about Juan Marichal with the bat, or White Sox Fan about Disco Appreciation Night, and so on, and so on. Teams acquire brands. The Patriot brand is winning hypocrisy, rooted on by apologistic spoiled whiners. You have both arned it.

> People who lump this in with other outrages (most notably, Harry Reid with the DC Slurs) are terrible and obvious opportunists who are just trying to tear the league down.

The NFL is doing a fine job on its own at tearing things down on their own, really. What with head trauma cover ups, scheduling games every day of the week regardless of injury or quality, and wildly inconsistent punishments based around domestic abuse, DC Slurs is just a back burner embarrassment. Frankly, if you aren't angry with the NFL about something, you aren't paying attention. And congratulations for that.

> Patriot Fan is starting a GoFundMe campaign to pay the fine, and arranging for arrest outside of the NFL offices while chanting Free Tom Brady, to show they are very, very serious about their displeasure.

Imagine if their team didn't win the Super Bowl, how upset they might be...

Anyway, the hack point is to show the utter insanity of paying an NFL team's fines, or staging some stunt to add to your public record. (Special points to any future employer that decides against hiring anyone for this, by the way; shows questionable judgment without any excuse for sobriety or spur of the moment decision making.) But the more telling point is just how entitled and Very Special Snowflake Boston Fan is.

The outrage requires their own money, their own arrest, their own witness, to be meaningful. The fact that appeals are likely to limit the damage, or that the team will still win their division and maybe be even better for it (no Super Bowl hangover when the Evil NFL took away your QB, right?)... does not matter. Boston Fan will pule, Boston Fan will howl, Boston Fan will sue and handcuff themselves and give money to a billionaire, unprovoked and unrequested. This is because they care more than you do, are more passionate than you are, and just doggone care more than other towns. That's why they win, you see. Has nothing to do with any other factor.

It's a wonder the rest of us still go to watch games, or root for other teams. For many reasons, really.

Finally, one of my own...

> This is going to be the new normal for every targeted team.

Because this kind of behavior gets noticed, and in an era of social media and microcasts to the devoted, imitation is the sincerest form of inevitable.

Besides, every fan of every team wants their club to cheat -- err, compete -- just as hard as the Patriots do, right? Since winning by any means is the only acceptable outcome?

No comments:

Ads In This Size Rule