At this point, I’m not sure what’s worse: having to sit through the endless drip of bountygate news and comments, or listening to a mashup of every pop song over the past year. Upon further review, I’ve never been a bigger fan of Carly Rae Jepson than I am right now, at this very moment.
Upon even further review, I’ll gladly become a screaming Beliber.
Look, if you’re reading this post you’re a die-hard football fan, because you’re reading an NFL blog on June 29th (thanks!). That means you’re fully aware of the magnitude of bountygate, the resulting punishments for both the players and coaches, why there are legitimate and serious questions about the league’s evidence obtained during its three-year investigation, and why Gregg Williams is a demon.
You know all of that, and you know it well. You have an opinion on it too, and it’s surely a strong one. But like a summer family reunion in which uncle Ted begins describing his passion for collecting rare beetles, you just want it to end. Forever. Right now.
I think that applies to Saints fans too, whose stance on the matter is clear, but despite their angst, I’m getting the sense that Who Dat Nation even wants to move on by now. But surely someone will disagree with that idea and tell me to stick something somewhere.
It is possible as humans to acknowledge and be aware of the importance of something, but also want it to go away. Even if you’re passionate about politics, I suspect many Americans reach that breaking point every four years around October, with the voting day finally one month away.
Last night during an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, Saints quarterback Drew Brees said that he’s as annoyed with bountgate as you are. He wants the bounty talk, the appeals, and the accusations to stop. All of it, he wants it all over, and so do you, according to him.
“I’ll be honest with you, and I think I can speak for all fans in America for that matter, we are tired of hearing about it. We don’t want to talk about it anymore. Put forth the facts, the truth, and if indeed there was a pay-to-injure scheme, then people will get punished, and if there’s not, then let’s exonerate these men because, at this point, it seems like it’s a smear campaign. We’re dragging them through the mud, we’re ruining their reputations and careers with no true evidence.”
Thanks for speaking for America while speaking to America, Drew. There’s just one fatal flaw in your request to allow the bounty accusations to fade away silently into the summer night. You’re playing politics too, and you always have been.
Brees’ contradicting was noted at length by Gregg Rosenthal earlier today, and as we observe his conduct that’s included a comparison between WMDs and Roger Goodell’s evidence, we see a man–and by extension, a team–who’s more than willing to fire back with his own accusations.
We can bicker about whether or not Brees and the Saints are innocent in this and merely defending themselves (as is their right), or if they’re meekly covering up a crime. That’s a different divisive discussion that we’ve had many times, and it’s irrelevant here.
Brees is indirectly claiming that both he and the NFLPA have been above the charade of public bickering throughout this process, and that’s simply false. Go back and read Anthony Hargrove’s speech to the media, and really read it. Again, his defense of himself as he says that it wasn’t his voice on the videotape during the 2009 NFC Championship game is fair and legitimate. But he said Goodell and his gang are little more than a bunch of muggers, adding that they’re attempting to paint a beautiful Mona Lisa.
It was all poetic language filled with propaganda, and it was intended to sway opinion in a very public battle of words, a war in which the players are very willing participants. As Rosenthal wrote, the battle is won and lost with the scoring of imaginary points.
Listening to the players and the league go back and forth on bounties is depressing. It’s like listening to Democrats and Republicans going back and forth on health care. Both sides are trying to score points. For Brees to suggest that the players are somehow above playing the media game is disingenuous. It’s political. Fans are tired of that, too.
The politics will likely head to the courtroom soon, with the four players (Hargrove, Scott Fujita, Will Smith, and Jonathan Vilma) pursuing legal action once Goodell inevitably dismisses their appeals.
So four months into this mess, it’s only really just beginning.