Rob Gronkowski does two things, and he does them both like a boss. He plays tight end, and he sets records. Then he parties, and sets records for ass grabs and body shots.
During the afternoon and evening Sunday he did one of those activities despite a severe ankle injury that’s since required surgery, and he was a fraction of a second away from being a Super Bowl hero. Instead of delivering that championship to New England, Gronkowski came quite literally a few inches short after barely missing on his diving attempt to catch the game-ending Hail Mary. But he was quite successful later that night while maintaining female torso control at the Patriots party, and earlier this week the Interwebs were buzzing relentlessly with pictures and videos to prove it.
Since then we’ve learned that he doesn’t care about football, even though he played during the championship game with an injury that would have easily sidelined him during the regular season.
We know about Gronkowski’s indifference because we were educated when Rodney Harrison flipped through his book of football gospel. The scripture of our forefathers and their forefather’s forefathers told him that players are not free to be individual people following a Super Bowl loss, and candlelight is the only permissible source of light in the rooms where players sit in the immediate aftermath of such a defeat.
Thoughts of death are not required, but they are encouraged, for men of true grit allow their deep inner conscience to drift towards what lies far beyond an existence that’s now plain and pointless. At least 20 minutes of staring at the floor is also mandatory.
Harrison is just the most recent voice pushing this utterly asinine and ancient thinking. I’m a regular Mad Dog Radio listener, and the notoriously old school Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo has been blowing the same foolish horn all week, and in doing so he’s dug up a legion of callers who share his antique opinion.
Nearly a week later it remains remarkable that there are honest, normal, hard-working people among the football masses who need an explanation regarding Gronkowski’s post-game dancing. These are the same people who will also look you in the eye, and say that if they were young, rich, and desirable to women who breathe oxygen, they’d sit alone in a dark room with several bottles of aged scotch instead of letting those girls rip their shirt off.
Fans think like this, because fans need a target for their ire and disgust after a crushing loss. The better team didn’t just win, they won for a reason, and the fan’s team lost for a reason. Usually, that reason is a person.
Thankfully, there’s at least one wealthy and older gentleman whose mind isn’t stuck in the same blatherings of football’s protectors of masculinity. His name is Jonathan Kraft, and he’s the president of the Patriots.
He’s sort of important, because he’s one of the guys who signs Gronk’s paycheck. During a radio appearance today with ESPN Boston’s Adam Jones, Kraft said he has no problem with his employee’s conduct.
“One thing I do know is the guy is 100 percent passionate when it comes to football. He loves football. He wants to win. He doesn’t like losing. I don’t know specifically what people are questioning, but he’s an ultimate competitor. I think the team did accomplish a lot this year. Unfortunately, we fell a little bit short of the ultimate goal. I do think that he and other players probably have different ways of both celebrating what we were able to achieve and dealing with the disappointment of the night, and I think it’s hard to personalize how any individual would deal with that and project it on someone else.”
Fans (and some jealous former players who aren’t capable of logical thought) make a hobby out of projecting themselves onto athletes. It’s a diversion from the minutiae and nothingness of the repeated 40-hour work week.
They just can’t turn it off once the game ends.