Update: Tom Brady has been suspended four games and the Patriots have been fined $1-million dollars and deprived of two high draft picks.
In other words: only four games, only $1-million, only two high draft picks.
Meantime, Pete Rose is banned for life from baseball for betting on games and lying about it. Guess Rose was not as creepily charming as Brady (above).
Back to our regularly scheduled programming:
They have one thing in common: they think you are stupid. You, the sports fan. They say things and expect the fan to believe them. Because that is the nature of a fan: blind faith.
Brady showed up in Salem, Mass., the other night with a smug look that comes from winning all those Super Bowls and he assured the crowd that he didn’t know anything. They cheered him. Because they are Patriots fans.
Ever since this deflated-football business surfaced, I have been saying that the truth would emerge that a Patriot employee named Elmo who made a modest salary would have done the actual dirty work in a back room. Turns out there are two Elmos. Now a report says Tom Brady probably knew. Probably.
This happened in the world of Robert Kraft, just as the Belichick spying and other scandals happened in the world of Robert Kraft. But Patriots’ fans think it’s all fine. And other fans wish their team cheated that well.
Roger Goodell, who must decide how much to suspend Brady after the recent report, is already exposed for his disinterest in the damage perpetrated upon generations of football players. The commissioner has acted as if he could bluff his way through because of football’s television ratings and income. Those guys with the deteriorating brains? Collateral damage, apparently. Goodell's face betrays no inner life, no sense of guilt.
The Yankee fans gave Alex Rodriguez a curtain call the other night for passing Willie Mays’s home run total of 661. This accomplishment does nothing to eclipse Mays, a beautiful baseball player who brings a smile to aging faces. A-Rod is from a more recent generation. He cheated multiple times, was penalized multiple times, and now he is back, one of the Yankees’ best players. Fascinating. What happens if his spurt of energy, coordination, power, whatever, fades by mid-summer?
The Yankee organization now publicly welches on a contract, claiming it was a marketing deal, not a bonus for his 661st homer. The Yankee organization also paid the salary of Roger Clemens, one of the great pitchers of his time or any time, but having been in the hearings and the courtroom, I can say Clemens got off lucky because of an amateur prosecution.
Then there is Manny Pacquaio, who declined to mention that he had a damaged right shoulder for his “fight of the century” last Saturday. What century? Boxing is the Brigadoon of sports. It only re-appears periodically. But people spent millions, to watch a charade by a boxer with a damaged shoulder. Now there will be lawsuits. Normal.
One of the great lies told to fans is that sports breed good character. It is one rationale for colleges fielding semi-pro teams and paying athletes minimally, under the table.
Sometimes the scandals back up and flood over the side. This seems to be one of those times.
Measuring Covid Deaths, by David Leonhardt. July 17, 2023. NYT online.
The United States has reached a milestone in the long struggle against Covid: The total number of Americans dying each day — from any cause — is no longer historically abnormal….
After three horrific years, in which Covid has killed more than one million Americans and transformed parts of daily life, the virus has turned into an ordinary illness.
The progress stems mostly from three factors:
First, about three-quarters of U.S. adults have received at least one vaccine shot.
Second, more than three-quarters of Americans have been infected with Covid, providing natural immunity from future symptoms. (About 97 percent of adults fall into at least one of those first two categories.)
Third, post-infection treatments like Paxlovid, which can reduce the severity of symptoms, became widely available last year.
“Nearly every death is preventable,” Dr. Ashish Jha, who was until recently President Biden’s top Covid adviser, told me. “We are at a point where almost everybody who’s up to date on their vaccines and gets treated if they have Covid, they rarely end up in the hospital, they almost never die.”
That is also true for most high-risk people, Jha pointed out, including older adults — like his parents, who are in their 80s — and people whose immune systems are compromised. “Even for most — not all but most —immuno-compromised people, vaccines are actually still quite effective at preventing against serious illness,” he said. “There has been a lot of bad information out there that somehow if you’re immuno-compromised that vaccines don’t work.”
That excess deaths have fallen close to zero helps make this point: If Covid were still a dire threat to large numbers of people, that would show up in the data.
One point of confusion, I think, has been the way that many Americans — including we in the media — have talked about the immuno-compromised. They are a more diverse group than casual discussion often imagines.
Most immuno-compromised people are at little additional risk from Covid — even people with serious conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or a history of many cancers. A much smaller group, such as people who have received kidney transplants or are undergoing active chemotherapy, face higher risks.
Covid’s toll, to be clear, has not fallen to zero. The C.D.C.’s main Covid webpage estimates that about 80 people per day have been dying from the virus in recent weeks, which is equal to about 1 percent of overall daily deaths.
The official number is probably an exaggeration because it includes some people who had virus when they died even though it was not the underlying cause of death. Other C.D.C. data suggests that almost one-third of official recent Covid deaths have fallen into this category. A study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases came to similar conclusions.
Dr. Shira Doron, the chief infection control officer at Tufts Medicine in Massachusetts, told me that “age is clearly the most substantial risk factor.” Covid’s victims are both older and disproportionately unvaccinated. Given the politics of vaccination, the recent victims are also disproportionately
Republican and white.
Each of these deaths is a tragedy. The deaths that were preventable — because somebody had not received available vaccines and treatments — seem particularly tragic. (Here’s a Times guide to help you think about when to get your next booster shot.)
From the great Maureen Dowd:
As I write this, I’m in a deserted newsroom in The Times’s D.C. office. After working at home for two years during Covid, I was elated to get back, so I could wander around and pick up the latest scoop.
But in the last year, there has been only a smattering of people whenever I’m here, with row upon row of empty desks. Sometimes a larger group gets lured in for a meeting with a platter of bagels."
--- Dowd writes about the lost world of journalists clustered in newsrooms at all hours, smoking, drinking, gossipping, making phone calls, typing, editing.
"Putting out the paper," we called it.
Much more than nostalgia.