Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Tom Brady rant that turned into social commentary...

Recently read a story about the paparazzi getting some good shots of Tom Brady, leaving his place in NYC with his most recent girlfriend, Gisele B√ľndchen. He was en route to pre-season training up in Foxboro with the rest of his glorious New England Patriot teammates. Apparently, questions about the recent birth of Tom's kid with Bridget Moynahan were strictly off-limits at this week's Patriots press conference. Wow! Lucky him. He doesn't have to raise the kid, and now he doesn't even have to talk about it! If the Falcons would have just been smart enough to ban questions about dogs and dogfighting at their camp, they might not have Joey Harrington starting this season.

Well, lucky for us he did speak about the baby....sort of. Here's what he had to say:

“I’d like to just say that there are a lot of those questions and I’m sure you want answers, but I’m really here to talk about football and that’s why I’m here,” he said. “That’s why I come in here every week. I hope you guys respect that. I have a lot of great thoughts on it, but I’d really prefer to share those with my family and my loved ones. It’s a wonderful thing, as I’m sure all the parents out there know already. I’m ready to talk football.”

Ahhhhhhh.....that is SO sweet. He thinks babies are a "wonderful thing". He's going to be a great dad.

Tom on his way to a costume party, dressed as 'Relic' from Beachcombers.


Now, is it just me, or is Tom Brady dodging all kinds of criticism here because he's the white, All-American QB? The tone of most articles about Brady are something along the lines of "Well, he knocked up a girl, then dumped her for a hotter and more famous girl. But hey, he loves the baby, he's a great guy, now let's watch him bag another Superbowl!".

On the other hand, Travis Henry may be bit of an extreme case. He knocked up nine different women, none of which are household names. (Wow....I guess he is Catholic?) Here's what Travis had to say about his situation:

"The important thing is I want to take care of my kids really and truly. It's all good."

So, how come most coverage of the Travis Henry situation is negative and condescending? He's said in his own words that he wants to take care of his kids. He's even borrowed money from his former team to keep up with his support payments. (Although, this may have been done to keep Henry from going to county and missing a few games last season.) It is negative because he is not the aforementioned "white, All-American QB". Angry, white sports writers, (and a good chunk of their audience) have already decided who the bad guys are, they're just waiting for them to do something, so they can tell everyone how bad they really are.

If you meet some or all of the following criteria, then the populous will most likely deem you "a bad guy" :
  • You're black
  • You have dreadlocks, or even worse cornrows.
  • You've got a few tattoos
  • You wear a grill
  • You have a "distinct" name, like Dontarious or Marshawn.
I'm sure there are more triggers, but those are the big ones. These things scare people, hence they pre-judge, hence race issues continue!

A prime example of this is Marshawn Lynch, the Bills first pick in the most recent NFL draft. During the draft process, the short profile you'd read everywhere about Lynch went something like, "Great RB. Can catch the ball out of the backfield. Has character issues." These "character issues" include getting shot AT (in an apparent case of mistaken identity) and being accused of assaulting his girlfriend, (charges which the DA declined to press, citing a lack of evidence and "grave inconsistencies" in the alleged victim's accusations. [from wiki]) Not a clean record, but not exactly public enemy number one.

Going beyond the headlines, and actually listening to Marshawn Lynch speak, he comes across as a modest, humble "Mama's Boy" (as his tattoo reads). This article from the New York Times goes into a little more detail about Lynch, the family man:

Bills Are Hoping Lynch Will Run the Ball, Not His Mouth


So, why was the negative storyline the one to run at draft time? Well, I guess one reason is that so-called draft experts need another side of the coin to talk about...you can't just say "Oh, this guy is a great back. End of analysis." Need that counter point. So it becomes, "great back with character issues" for Marshawn, just as it was "great back with injury/durability issues" for Adrian Peterson. The thing is, the "character issue" angle was a total lazy and poor research cop-out. A number of columnists/draft gurus had an inch and took a mile. No doubt, it seemed like an easy sell when you've got a guy named "Marshawn", who grew up in Oakland and is sporting dreadlocks and a grill in his press photo. He MUST be a bad guy,right??

Consider this.....if there were photos of Tom Brady poaching elephants while eating a veal and foie gras sandwich, would he instantly become one of the most hated men in America? I doubt it. Alternatively, if Michael Vick were to leave his pregnant girlfiend for a supermodel, don't you think he'd be put through the ringer by the family values police?

Lamb fighting is a crime!

Wow. I apologize....what started as my weekly crack at Tom Brady and/or the Patriots turned into an essay on race issues in America. I'm naive and somewhat insulated up here in Toronto, so maybe it's not really my place to stick my nose into. These are just my thoughts....

2 comments:

  1. I think you need to bring your thoughts on this subject to the forefront and send to all the sports media and tabliods. There is a group of us at Splashnewsonline who have been on this very subject, complaining about the double standards in America when it comes to athletes and their personal lives.

    It's so true that Tom Brady has been given leniency by the sportsmedia, but we are working on it. Hopefully more people like you will join in the effort of raising the awareness.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Marty, thanks for coming over and supporting our efforts. Just wanted to let you know how much effort and progress we have. Did you know that the NFL websites used to have personal email links to the players. One of our gals has been diligently sending obscene pictures of Gisele and notes of Brady's immoral behaviors to all the players. For the first two games of Preseason, the Pats lost. Next thing you know, all the players links were removed!!! Yes, this just happened 3 weeks ago! I think the Titans were the last team to receive emails from our gal and she sent a nude picture of Gisele. It's kind of funny.

    If you get a chance, email me and we'll include you on our distribution. there are information we get that we don't share on the blog.

    ReplyDelete

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