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DeflateGate: A Question for the Haters

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I usually have no problem with Patriots haters - but there's one thing that I can't figure out.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Hey, you guys remember when Malcolm Butler intercepted that pass on the goal line and the Patriots won the Super Bowl? That was awesome.

Butler's pick seems light years away now, doesn't it? And all I know is, thank you Tebow that he did make that play, because if all of this nonsense was happening in the wake of yet another Patriots Super Bowl loss in Arizona because of some ridiculous, fluke catch, I don't think there would be enough beds in the Mass General Mental Ward to hold all the Pats fans who just straight up lost it over these past few months.

The haters are having an absolute blast with Deflategate, and understandably so. People love to hate the Patriots as it is, and so there is simply no way that any hater worth his or her salt is going to let this go anytime soon. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: hating other teams is fun. It's a very legitimate part of the sports landscape. It's part of being a good fan. Hell, I'd go so far as to say that hating another team is as American as apple pie. And I feel safe saying that the New England Patriots are one of the most hated franchises on the entire planet. Few things unite enemies like a shared dislike of this bunch of game winning, Patriot Way touting, hoodie wearing, super model dating jerks that beat your team down year after year after year. I can 100% guarantee that I would absolutely loathe the Pats if I didn't love them so much, and because of that I've never had a problem with the trolling and the inflammatory articles and the almost compulsive need to take to Twitter and Facebook and comment threads and whatever else is available to you so you can let the world know just how much you hate this team. Some choose to use the usual buzzwords like Cheatriots and Bellicheat and classless and the latest-and-greatest Delfatriots, and that's fine. Some pretend to be neutral, but express their dislike through thinly veiled insults and vitriol, and that's fine too. Some go the "I'm an intelligent fan" route and explain that there is simply no way the Patriots haven't been cheating since day one and that the NFL is in on it all, and I'm all for that as well. If you enjoy it, I say go for it; who am I to stop you? I'll personally never understand the logic behind certain fans who adamantly insist that the ONLY reason they hate the Patriots is because they "systematically and routinely break the rules" (read: they got busted in 2007 for filming the sidelines in the non-designated filming the sidelines area) and refuse to acknowledge that is has nothing to do with the fact that they win all the time, but maybe that's just me. The bottom line is that, whether you want to admit it or not (and most likely the latter), you weren't going to hate the Patriots any more or less because of what has been happening with Deflategate; all you have now is just another wide, well-paved, litter free highway on which to focus that hate and enjoy the hell out of it. And to that I say hate on.

But there's one bit of Patriots hate I'm having a hard time digesting this time around in regards to Deflategate, so maybe someone here can help me out with it. And it goes something along the lines of:

You Pats fans are such whiny crybabies! Why can't you just admit that you cheated and move on??!!

Prior to Deflategate, the line was "Pats fans are so arrogant! We don't hate you because you win, we hate you because you cheat!", and I think that this is just a timely spin-off of that. There seems to be a faction of the peanut gallery which seems to be making the case that if the Patriots would just admit that they cheated, all of this would magically go away and people would stop talking about it. That people would stop wasting all their time obsessing over this non-story (am I aware of the irony of calling people out for obsessing over Deflategate via an article I wrote about Deflategate when I was supposed to be working? You bet I am!) if Tommy B would just fess up and get on with his life. Now I personally don't think it would make a lick of difference in the eyes of the public if he admitted guilt or not, but that's just my opinion and one I can neither support nor defend.

And speaking of something that can neither be supported nor defended - how about that Wells Report?

As I have said several times, I haven't read The Wells Report and have no desire to, but I have yet to hear anyone, on any side of this absurd, absurd debate, say that the Patriots are actually guilty of anything. To my knowledge, the most damning evidence is that Tom Brady was more probable than not generally aware that there might have been something going on in regards to deflation, or something like that. There is also a text message in which a ball assistant refers to himself as "the deflator," which is now apparently a reference to weight loss or something. I don't know, and all I can think throughout this whole this is what the world would think of me if they ever got access to my text messages. Yikes.

But as far as I'm aware, there is no proof that the Patriots were directly involved in anything, there are a bunch of inconsistencies all over the place from both sides, everyone seems to have his own agenda, and pretty much nobody knows what's going on. If that isn't the case and somebody out there would like to correct me, then I'm all ears, but as of right now my impression is that there are a bunch of conflicting reports and one's approval or dislike of the Patriots has never been more transparent based on what you're choosing to believe right now.

So if all this is true, and it's all just one big mess that once again makes the league look incompetent (note to Roger Goodell: it's the job of a good boss to keep his company off TMZ, not become regulars on it. Just thought you might like to know), I'm having a hard time figuring out why all of us whiny crybaby entitled arrogant homer butthurt obnoxious Patriots fans should just admit that our team is a bunch of cheaters and move on. What exactly are we supposed to be admitting here? That the results of a report that says "the data did not provide a basis for us to determine with absolute certainty whether there was or was not tampering as the analysis of such data ultimately is dependent upon assumptions and information that is not certain (pp.228)" has the team with its hand in the cookie jar and it's time to fess up?  Is that what we're supposed to do?

Maybe something sketchy was up in New England. Maybe nothing was. As I have been saying from day one, The Wells report is worded so that whatever your own personal narrative surrounding the Patriots is, you can find language there to support that. If you want to view the report as proof the Pats are cheaters, there is plenty of "evidence" to support that theory. If you want to view the report as yet another example of people vilifying the Patriots and desperately looking for a reason as to why they have been so successful in a league set up to specifically prevent this kind of dominance, there is plenty of "evidence" to support that as well. Everyone has their story, they are sticking to it, and the fact that 99% of the people in this debate didn't even read the report and in no capacity approached the issue objectively be damned. And I'm fine with that, to be honest; contrary to popular belief, professional sports are overwhelmingly insignificant on the grand scale, and having something trivial and fantastical in which to invest our energy, both positive and negative, is a nice escape from reality and an excellent outlet for our passions.  But I don't think that anyone, on any side of the issue, has a leg to stand on when they demand that New England admit their guilt. The Patriots are going to fight this, and since they believe so strongly in their innocence, we fans will as well, because that supports our personal narrative. If the notion of New England not going down without a fight is evidence for your personal narrative of them thinking that they are above the league and untouchable and anybody with a brain can see that "more probable than not" is about as concrete of evidence as, say, a video of some guy dragging his unconscious wife out of an elevator (but that was OFF THE FIELD! Off the field doesn't count towards the integrity of this game!), then keep on believing that. I just can't for the life of me figure out why or how anyone can reasonably expect anyone on the New England side to simply admit that they broke the rules when nothing anywhere states that they broke the rules.

Am I missing something? It's more probable than not that I am.