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.
“They may hate the cultural context they now find themselves teaching in, but they love their work. The Achilles’ heel of schoolteachers, one all too easily exploited by politicians, is that they love their students.”
(One of the best reads in the NYT these days is Margaret Renkl, in Nashville. In her latest post, Renkl describes the dedicated core of “born teachers” – the majority, she submits.)
(From Madeleine Albright in one of her final interviews in February):
“Putin is small and pale,” I wrote, “so cold as to be almost reptilian.” He claimed to understand why the Berlin Wall had to fall but had not expected the whole Soviet Union to collapse. “Putin is embarrassed by what happened to his country and determined to restore its greatness.” – Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, recalling her first meeting with the relatively unknown Vladimir Putin in 2000. – The New York Times, Feb. 23, 2022.