Tag Archives: “Deflategate”

Integrity (My Father, Tom, And Pete)

My father has integrity. Tom Brady, quarterback of the New England Patriots, not so much. What about Pete Rose? First things first. I think Tom Brady has a bright future in the political arena, if he so desires, since it appears as though he has perfected the nonchalant attitude, and vague memory, that many of today’s elected officials possess. The main player (pun intended) in the “Deflategate” scandal was more than willing to break National Football League (NFL) rules, and I’m not exactly sure why he thought he needed to cheat to be successful.

However, Mr. Brady was less than willing to provide any viable answers or explanations, when questioned by investigators, as to why he used illegally deflated footballs during (at the very least) this year’s American Football Conference (AFC) Championship Game. I say at least because when someone gets busted, doing something wrong, it’s usually not the first time the individual has committed that same violation. Most people who are caught speeding on a freeway, stealing from an establishment, or dealing drugs had most-likely been breaking the law, for who knows how long, prior to being nabbed. In the scope of all that is evil, in this world, breaking a League rule, by intentionally deflating a few footballs, barely seems worth mentioning, but any quarterback who would do so certainly lacks integrity.

A person who does not lack integrity is my father. Throughout my entire life that has been the adjective most commonly used by people when they’re describing him. The word, responsible, typically comes in a close second place. My father was the financial secretary, for over 35 years, for the United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 997. His job was an elected position, so he was required to run for re-election, time and time again, during his career. Many people encouraged my father, even implored him, to move up through the union ranks, but my father was quite content remaining where he was because he epitomizes the definition of “a family man.” He’d rather be present at all four of his children’s school events, and attend every single ball game, than be forced into traveling in pursuit of climbing the company ladder.

My father was continuously re-elected to his position simply because he was outstanding at fulfilling his secretarial duties. It definitely was not because he was a seasoned politician. In fact, he was so far removed from that type of character that he would not even entertain the idea of conveying ambiguity for the sake of possibly receiving additional votes. I remember there were times when candidates, campaigning for other union positions, would ask my father if they could count on his vote. Sometimes those people asking for his endorsement, if victorious at the polls, would then secure a position of authority over my father.

Of course, the easy and safe thing would’ve been for my father to offer his support, regardless of what he actually intended to do in the voting booth, but that’s not what a man of integrity does. At times my father was faced with having to look his potential boss in the eye and tell the person they did not have his support. He would do so in a courteous manner, and there were no attempts at futile rhetoric nor any hemming and hawing during the process. I can hardly imagine how uncomfortable the conversation must’ve been, for both parties involved, but my father handled the situation with tremendous nobility. Tom Brady could learn a thing or two from my father.

Then there’s Pete Rose. I would not rank the former baseball player’s offence, in today’s professional sports’ world, at the top of the list. Yes, the 17 time All-Star (aka Charlie Hustle) bet on baseball games (forbidden by Major League Baseball). He also agreed to “permanent ineligibility from baseball” in 1989. However, it wasn’t until 1991, when the Baseball Hall of Fame committee voted to ban those on the “permanent ineligibility” list from ever entering Cooperstown. Pete’s gambling violations occurred when he was a player and a manager of the Cincinnati Reds. The former Rookie of the Year even gambled on his own ball club to win games. Win!

If Mr. Rose had waged bets against the Reds then assuredly I would have little sympathy for the two-time Gold Glove winner. I view Charlie Hustle’s misconduct as very minor in comparison to the deeds of numerous other professional athletes who are already enshrined or who’ll be heading there after their playing days are over (E.g. Tom Brady). I am normally a “black and white” sort of guy, but I’m not beyond showing a little mercy once in awhile. Pete Rose remains baseball’s all-time hits leader; therefore, I think he deserves a place in Cooperstown: integrity notwithstanding. In conclusion, my father…yay, Tom Brady…nay, and Pete Rose…okay.

The Super Bore

I won’t be watching the Super Bore (I mean the Super Bowl) this Sunday. I need to like at least one of the two teams playing in the championship game, or at the bare minimum be able to whole-heartedly root for one of them, to be enticed into viewing the 4-hour plus spectacle. That criteria definitely was not met this past football season. I’m about as thrilled to watch Super Bowl 49, as I am at the prospect of sending either Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton to the Oval Office during the next presidential election. I can’t bear the thought of another Bush or Clinton running this country, but on the bright side at least they’re not Ted Cruz or Donald Trump.

The Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl last year, and I don’t particularly care for “repeating” in any sport unless of course it’s my team. Whether when speaking of politics or professional football I say, “give somebody else a chance.” However, if the New England Patriots win we’ll never know for certain how legitimate their season truly was leading up to the big game. More on that later. I’m sure my lovely wife will be watching this year’s Super Bowl since nowadays she seems to be a bigger fan of the National Football League than I am.

I used to crave NFL game days, but I think watching overpaid athletes constantly showboating and heaping praise upon themselves ultimately grew too tiresome for me. I’m sure you know the type of person I’m speaking of because they are a dime a dozen in the NFL. A player makes a touchdown, an interception, a fumble recovery, a sack, or even a nice tackle, and his teammates are wanting to congratulate him, but more often than not the individual pushes them aside (literally and figuratively) to find an open space on the football field to celebrate alone. I assume the player does this so there’s no mistaking, to anyone who may have blinked, who he thinks deserves to be applauded for the previous play. Hellooo…it’s your job!

Someone did ask, after hearing my intentions for not watching the Super Bowl, “but what about the commercials?” I momentarily considered taping the ballgame, so I could fast forward through the boring matchup and enjoy the annually heralded commercials at a later date. I then quickly realized how asinine even the thought of that resonated in my head. Was I actually going to purposefully expend some of my time and energy on watching an array of mostly overrated advertisements, that are force-fed apparently to an eagerly willing audience, aired during the National Football League’s biggest game of the year? No!

Besides, the viewing of Super Bowl commercials aren’t a once in a lifetime event. I’m sure eventually I’ll see all of them a time or two whether I want to or not in the coming weeks. Admittedly, I absolutely am an admirer of the majority of Hallmark commercials. The sappy ones they show during Hallmark movies, a combination of new commercials as well as the classics, are well worth turning on the television set to watch. I’ve been known to shed a few tears (okay, streams of tears) more so during those darn commercials than during the Hallmark presentation itself.

Now for the elephant in the room. I recently have heard New England Patriots’ Head Coach, Bill Belichick, referred to by some as Bill Belicheat although I’m not entirely sure he’s the only one in the organization deserving of such a demeaning nickname. However, Coach Belichick and the entire Patriots’ Organization does seem to be adding to their reputations as cheaters (ala “Spygate”) in the NFL. “Spygate,” in case you haven’t heard by now, was when the Patriots were caught illegally videotaping their opponents’ defensive coaches’ signals during a 2007 game against the New York Jets.

In addition, during the “Spygate” investigation, it was discovered that New England had been conducting similar videotaping of their opponents since Mr. Belichick took over as head coach in 2000. This quite possibly means the Patriots had an unfair advantage against their opponents in Super Bowls 36, 38, and 39, too. Coach Belichick was fined $500,000, the Patriots were fined $250,000, and the team was stripped of their first round draft pick the following season for their indiscretion. The fine incurred by Mr. Belichick remains the harshest penalty ever handed down to an NFL coach. The Patriots advanced to the championship game during the “Spygate” season, but they did lose to the New York Giants in Super Bowl 42. I can’t complain.

The latest allegation against New England, cleverly deemed “Deflategate,” has encompassed the team, tarnishing their reputation even further, as they are trying to prepare for the upcoming Super Bowl. Supposedly, 11 of the 12 footballs provided by the Patriots’ offensive unit were found to be under-inflated after their latest playoff victory against the Indianapolis Colts. Something happened to the pigskins between the time the referees checked them, approximately two hours prior to game time, and the kickoff. I don’t exactly know where the buck should stop when attempting to lay blame: the Patriots’ Owner, the General Manager, Coach Belichick, or the players themselves. Maybe some astute ball boy summoned his courage and ingenuity, however ill-advised, in hopes of trying to do what he could to help the home team.

The fact is that rules were allegedly broken by the New England Patriots’ Organization…again. A reader of mine (yes, I have a few) replied to a prior blog claiming, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” in disagreeing with my particular stance on an issue. I will use that same adage in this circumstance although he surely won’t appreciate it because, if I remember correctly, he is a Patriots’ fan. If you are an Indianapolis Colts’ fan please cover your ears at this time. The Patriots undeniably obliterated the Colts on the football field, and it would not have mattered whether the footballs were slightly under-inflated, over-inflated, or as flat as a pancake. New England obviously would’ve kicked some major butt that day regardless which then makes trying to gain the slightest edge by illegally deflating balls seem all the more ridiculous.

That being said, I do not know how in good conscience the NFL can allow cheaters to participate in this year’s championship game if they desire to maintain a shred of integrity. The League is more than willing to suspend players, based on allegations alone, yet it’s painfully evident they’re enacting some sort of “the game must go on” mentality when it comes to holding an entire NFL organization accountable. The right thing to do would be to banish the Patriots from Super Bowl 49. Unfortunately, I’m certain that wasn’t even considered because trying to find another team on such short notice, and deciphering which team is most deserving to fill the vacancy, would be nearly impossible. The Colts? I don’t think so.

A case definitely could be made for the Baltimore Ravens to fill the vacant slot. They lost to New England, the previous week of the playoffs, but only by a measly 4 points. That game was also played on the Patriots’ home field, so there’s a strong possibility New England’s offense was using deflated footballs then as well. This discussion, as riveting as it may be, is pointless since surely the locker-rooms of the remaining 30 teams have already been cleared out, and many players are probably vacationing, fishing, or camping out somewhere in the wilderness by now. Some players possibly may be out of shape by this time while others may have already begun a necessary recovery process due to a very punishing, long season.

Regardless, the biggest game of the year will go on as scheduled, pitting the Seattle Seahawks against the New England Patriots, amidst a cloud of speculation and deceit. For me, deciding which team to root for in Super Bowl 49, is reminiscent of the selection process I’ve encountered when choosing which candidates to support in many of the most recent elections. I’m usually forced to ask myself, “Who is the lesser of two evils?” I cast my vote for the Seattle Seahawks although I still won’t be watching the Super Bore (I mean the Super Bowl) this Sunday.