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No More Excuses!

Patriots Deal Chargers Justice
National Media: Give Tomlinson a Pass

I'm a very classy person. You know this, because I'm telling you so. And thus, my entire argument following here is irrefutable.

Right, LaDainian?

It's amazing how much the national media hates -- that's right, "hates" -- the New England Patriots.

Where is the outrage that Tomlinson, a supposed upstanding man, put into question the character of 53-players and a dozen coaches?

You want classless? How about a guy who gets caught taking steroids --cheating -- and isn't man enough to admit it? How about a guy whose team stops a third down play and head-butts an opponent in "celebration"?

How about a guy who isn't satisfied with tackling (and sometimes injuring) an opponent, he has to "dance" about it? And not only does he feel compelled to dance, he names the dance? And not only does he name the dance, he names it something completely disrespectful -- "Lights Out" -- as though his intent is to injure?

What about Tomlinson himself? When he was running to the corner of the end zone to score his touchdown for what I'm sure he thought would be a game-sealing touchdown and 8-point lead, he virtually stopped short of the goal line, knowing the Patriots couldn't catch him, and mockingly tip-toed across.

Those things aren't classless? Those things aren't disrespectful?

"They did a dance Shawne Merriman is known for."

Grow up.

(Merriman made similar comments about the Patriots having no class. Now there's a dependable source on what's classy.)

And the national media says, "Tomlinson should get a pass" on his comments.

Why? Was he right? No. Did all the Patriots partake in this alleged "celebration"? No. Did Bill Belichick direct the players to do it? No.

So why does Tomlinson get a pass for insinuating such?

Not only does the national media thinks Tomlinson deserves a pass, they say, "Yes. The Patriots were wrong to mock Merriman."

WHAT? Wrong to mock a cheater and guy whose calling card is mocking people? No, that's what Merriman deserves, and it's what the Chargers deserve for endorsing it.

Do you ever see the Patriots "patenting" and naming dances? Do you ever see them standing over injured players and talking trash (unless it's turnabout)? Do you ever hear the Patriots saying "the better team didn't win"? Refusing to shake hands? Cheating? Not admitting when they're wrong? Or when they've been beaten?

What do you think Merriman would have done had San Diego beaten New England in Gillette Stadium?

Last year, after the Chargers did win in Foxboro, they -- coaches included (Wade Phillips) trash-talked their way off the field.

Shawn Phillips postgame comments yesterday are as hilarious as they are hypocritical.

Every time I will play New England it will be a personal grudge," Phillips said. "That was very classless. When we went in and beat their head in New England (last season), blew them out (41-17), we did nothing but compliment them and say they were a good team.
Liar. Hypocrite.

The Providence Journal chronicled their "compliments" after that game.

"That's a [butt]-whipping," said defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.

"21-1, now," tackle Leander Jordan announced, referring to the Patriots' punctured 21-game home winning streak.

"[Bleep] New England and their team," suggested cornerback Drayton Florence. Florence then said to the collection of onlookers in the hallway. "Get the look of shock off your faces. Don't be shocked. We beat your [butt]."

No, it didn't come from quite as high as the head coach. Just the defensive coordinator.

Chargers: The Patriots are classless? Well, isn't that the pot calling the kettle black.

And maybe the Chargers' actions last year precipitated the Patriots response. Wow, what a concept. The Patriots didn't whine like 4-year-olds last year. They bided their time. And they gave the Chargers what they deserve.

Yes, people should be ashamed of yesterday's events. Start with being ashamed of Tomlinson. And he should be ashamed of himself. That he has yet to apologize shows the "classy" kind of individual he is.

Apologizing Thursday, or next week, or during a Pro Bowl pregame interview, or next August isn't good enough. If he doesn't realize what he did is wrong now, any later apology is nothing but empty publicity -- spin. He can spin on the Chargers logo.

And that brings me back to my question: Where is the national media's outrage?

Sports Illustrated's Peter King, who has been anything but on a roll lately, is the closest I've read to admonishing Tomlinson. In his "What I didn't like about the playoff weekend" portion of "Ten Things I Think I Think", he writes:

LaDainian Tomlinson's fiery words about the Patriots. It's a great controversy for us. They sounded small coming from a guy who'd just tasted bitter defeat. And it is no mortal sin for a visiting team to imitate the sack dance of the hometown hero. Happens every week.
OK. Great. "Sounded small." Quite an indictment.

I bet King would be upset if he knew I called out the national media -- despite that they might be a bunch of upstanding men doing their jobs, even if "some" of them don't live up to certain standards. That would be a mortal sin.

What he should have said was: Tomlinson's comments were unacceptable. But you can't say that about the MVP, I guess.

** I've read over and over that it's disappointing to see the Patriots act in such a way, considering their reputation. But they're the only ones drawing attention to the way everyone else acts on a day-to-day basis. That's the national media's job.

And they're not doing it.

NFL Network: A Failed Experiment

Put the NFL Network at the head of the list of media that cannot be trusted. This would be like having the OIL Network with former oil workers interviewing current executives so they can explain why prices don't go down when the market has dropped 13 percent in the last two weeks.

So the NFL Network has someone (I think it was Marcellus Wiley, a former teammate of Tomlinson) interview Tomlinson after the game. No conflict of interest there, huh?

Wiley leads Tomlinson down a path of excuses like a well-trained defense attorney, oozing empathy for the "victim." After Tomlinson pleads his case, Wiley ends the interview, saying, "A real class act ... you're great ... keep it going ...," and other such "impartial" statements.

In addition to their outright propaganda, you get questions that start with the following observation:

"You guys was moving the ball."

That's a great way for an interviewer to phrase a question, don't you think?

The NFL Network was allegedly about additional insight and more in-depth information and analysis. But it's not. It's a propaganda machine dedicated to a small demographic wedge.

* * * * * * * *

** (I don't mean to pick on King so often, but he is ubiquitous at the top of the industry, and he sets the example. If he's wishy-washy, it's a wider indication that sports writers are losing power to impact attitudes. Then again, he gave Merriman his All-Pro vote, so maybe he's just irresponsible.)


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