This is a first for me.
I'd like to think that we as Patriots fans are all well past the point where we're willing to entertain SpyGate references as anything but what they actually are: troll jobs from those fans/media members who absolutely love to hate the Pats and will be beating SpyGate into the ground for the rest of their lives. And to be honest, I totally get it; hating on good teams is fun, and when you have a gem like SpyGate to cling to in association with a franchise that makes you seethe, you can bet your sweet behind that you milk that bad boy for everything it's worth and then some, reason and logic be damned. The Saints were incentivizing serious injury? Who cares! The Broncos were illegally manipulating the salary cap? Irrelevant! The Patriots had a camera pointed at the opposing sidelines and the man doing the pointing wasn't wearing the proper credentials? Asterisks! Cheaters! Tainted Legacies! I'd likely be doing the exact same thing if I wasn't
a rational human being a Patriots fan, and so I'll never begrudge any Pats hater for making a SpyGate reference.
But to link SpyGate not only to the recent unpleasantness that has been taking place in the league as of late, but also to Tom Brady's decision not to make any comment on it during a recent interview, is so confusing that I don't even know what I'm supposed to say about it. In a recent report by Eric Dodds of Time.com, Tom Brady, who has chosen to focus solely on football and set his sights only on elements within his control - you know, the way he has been doing for 14 years now - has chosen to stay tight-lipped not because it's frankly not something he has any real reason to comment on, but rather because the Patriots, with their "win at all costs" mentality, might be looking to acquire one of the NFL players currently in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
Brady made the following comment on his weekly interview with WEEI:
I try to stay in my lane. All of those things, none of it’s really my business or my control. I’ve just been focusing on the games and what I can do better. The things that are taking place on other teams or league-wide decisions, those are a different pay grade than me . . . If I make a comment about it, there’s nothing I can do to make a difference.
About as Brady a comment as it gets. But rather than acknowledge that, Dobbs instead expresses his disappointment that Tommy B "would not take a stand on an issue as clear-cut as domestic abuse." What he fails to point out is that Brady has never really taken a clear-cut stance on anything, and there is pretty much no way you can ever get any Patriot to give an opinion about anything at any point, no matter how hard you try. That's just the way it is in New England, and that's the way it will stay as long as Bill Belichick is there - which will hopefully be forever. To lambaste Brady for not suddenly deviating from what he has done his entire career, especially on a topic as sensitive as this one, makes absolutely zero sense to me. How about we focus on the team that kept Ray Rice on until their hand was forced? Or how about we look into the commissioner who more than likely had all the evidence he would ever need well beforehand and is now backpedaling faster than me walking by the grand opening of a new Chinese Buffet? Why not let Tommy B do what he has always done and focus instead on the actual issue at hand? Does he owe you some kind of explanation?
Dobbs has also chosen to point towards SpyGate, New England's penchant for cutting/trading key players when they feel it makes the most sense for the team to do so, and their willingness to take fliers on players who have had previous issues as reasons to believe that they won't hesitate to sign another criminal, no questions asked, as long as it will help their team win football games. Never mind that Bob Kraft once refused to sign a draft pick, 1996 sixth round selection Christian Peter, because it later came to light that he had a history of domestic violence. Never mind that all of the "troubled" players the Patriots signed were never convicted/paid the price under the American judicial system. Never mind that the Patriots cut Aaron Hernandez approximately six seconds after he was SUSPECTED in a murder case. Never mind that several teams, meaning more than one which by definition means that teams that are not the Patriots, have already expressed interest in signing Ray Rice should be be reinstated. And never mind that you could take Tommy B's statement on the matter and apply it to literally every question he has ever been asked about anything since he was drafted. Nope, none of that is important. What matters is that SpyGate is a clear indicator that the Patriots stop at nothing to win games, and if the New England camp seems a bit stony on the recent issues plaguing the league at the moment, by no means is it them toeing the 10+ year company line. Rather, it's a sign that they don't want to tip their hand when they bring in Greg Hardy, Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice, and Josh Gordon to challenge the guards in an exhibition match a la The Longest Yard. Got it.
As I mentioned in regards to Rich Hill's article highlighting the McCourty brothers and their campaign against Sickle Cell, it's a sad reflection of today's media landscape when the only time a pro athlete makes headlines on a non-sports outlet is when something bad happens, and there is perhaps no greater example of that than Time's most recent piece. If you want to harp on SpyGate and New England's tendency to play everything obnoxiously close to the vest, go for it; I'm not going to stop you. But at least stick to the established rhetoric if you're going to do it. To implicate any team, but especially the Patriots, in something that is far, far more important than what at the end of the day is just a game, is far more damning than any non-comment from a quarterback who had absolutely nothing to do with any of it.
But then again, I'm no journalist.