Monday, August 26, 2013

3 comments Bill Belichick and Tom Brady Give Howard Bryant a Sad Face

We have already been told by Jarrett Bell that the Patriot Way is over and done. No more. This is all because the Patriots dared to employ Aaron Hernandez, an athlete that every member of the Patriots organization should have seen was a murderer prior to drafting him. Now Howard Bryant is equally disappointed in the Patriots, well actually just Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. He didn't feel neither Belichick or Brady acted appropriately when they found out Aaron Hernandez had been charged with murder. Please remember the Patriots cut Hernandez 30 minutes after he was arrested. The Patriots decided to take on dead cap space and release one of the better tight ends in the NFL in less time than it takes to order a pizza, but that's not enough for Howard Bryant. Bill Belichick was on vacation and didn't rush home to give a statement to the press. Very sad this makes Howard Bryant.

Most days, the sports industrial complex is merely nauseating, with its overheated cliches of leadership and adversity, respect and disrespect; with its inappropriate war analogies routinely transforming both the English language and any sense of perspective into self-indulgent mush.

But not when Howard Bryant has a pedestal to step up on and announce that these cliches of leadership and adversity are now not cliches, but an important part of the foundation of what makes sports and a team so great. These buzz words are cliches sometimes and then not cliches at other times. It depends entirely on the point Bryant wants to prove.

When Aaron Hernandez was charged with murder in June, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, the public faces of the New England Patriots, initially said nothing.

NOTHING! They said nothing and completely ignored the press's absolute right for an athlete to immediately make a statement and appear before the cameras whenever the press feels this athlete should appear before the cameras and make a statement.

Belichick was on vacation. 

And of course Belichick must immediately stop going on the only vacation he will probably get all year so he can make a statement to the media about how he doesn't want his players to be arrested for murder. That's leadership, people

Here was the player he scouted, drafted and rewarded with a $40 million contract being connected to two shootings and three murders, and apparently the coach didn't think it was important enough to return home.

Probably because it wasn't important enough to return home. Robert Kraft, the guy who happens to own the Patriots and therefore is Belichick's boss and the guy who is also responsible for giving Hernandez a paycheck and signing off on a contract extension, made a statement for the team. There was no need for Belchick to come scurrying home from his vacation to appease the media with a statement. If Belichick had come back from vacation in a timely fashion this entire Hernandez ordeal could have been avoided and Odin Lloyd would be alive.

When Brady, general of the red zone, father of three,

No matter how relevant you want to make how many children Tom Brady has, it will continue to be irrelevant.

finally did speak about Hernandez nearly a month later, Bela Lugosi couldn't have made his first public comments sound more inhuman: "I've seen a lot of things over 13 years," the quarterback told Peter King of Sports Illustrated, "and what I have learned is that mental toughness and putting aside personal agendas for what's in the best interest of the team matters most … I have moved on. I'm focusing on the great teammates I have who are committed to helping us win games. The only thing I care about is winning. Nothing is going to ever get in the way of that goal."

What would Howard Bryant have preferred Brady say? I'm not being hypothetical, I want to know what he really would want Brady to say. Howard Bryant never reveals what he would prefer Brady say or how he prefers Brady would act. Does he want Brady to fall down in a mass of tears, cuss out Hernandez for committing murder or start talking about he teaches his three children not to commit murder?

Brady is basically saying "Aaron Hernandez is dead to me and we were told not to comment on his situation. I don't care about him because he isn't on the Patriots team anymore. I only care about the players who are currently on the team."

This is his statement and his teammates aren't going to think he isn't showing leadership because he chooses to not hold a 30 minute press conference on the topic of Aaron Hernandez. The only ones who will judge Brady for not making further comments is the media, and they will judge simply because they want something to talk and write about.

Subsequent Brady comments, after the organization got its story straight, at least allowed that the situation was a "terrible thing," but his first, unscripted words spoke loudest.

And these words said that Tom Brady doesn't care about NFL players who aren't on his team, and because Aaron Hernandez is no longer on the Patriots team, Tom Brady doesn't care about Aaron Hernandez anymore.

In other words, tough break, Odin Whatever-your-name-was, but Tom has game film to watch. He's moved on.

What the hell do you want Tom Brady to do? He didn't kill Odin Whatever-your-name-was. It's not solely up to Tom Brady to show sympathy to Odin Lloyd and Brady's affiliation with Hernandez ends when Hernandez was released as a member of the Patriots. Again, maybe Howard Bryant feels disappointed, but I think he's expecting Tom Brady to be more than he is required to be.

Brady made a teammate's being charged with a murder while also being linked to a drive-by double murder a year earlier sound no different from overcoming Richard Seymour's being traded to the Raiders.

Not to be snide, though this probably will come off snide, but both Hernandez and Seymour are no longer on the Patriots team. It's sort of consistent to treat them the same way if you know the history of how the Patriots operate. They limit outside distractions as much as possible. I am a little confused as to what Howard Bryant wants. He wants Brady and Belichick to be more human, but I'm not sure exactly what that means. Does the fact none of Hernandez's teammates at the University of Florida seemed to come out and show sympathy to the Lloyd family mean they didn't act human? I realize Hernandez last played for the Patriots, but if there is an onus on the Patriots to go above and beyond in indicting Hernandez then there must be some sort of need for every coach or team leader Hernandez has played on a team with to say something. What about Reverend Tebow? Should he have been more vocal considering he not only played with Hernandez (briefly) in New England, but also played with him not-so-briefly at Florida?

On July 24, with Odin Lloyd long buried, Belichick spoke for the first time, and the media, defeated and supplicant, all but tripped over themselves in lauding him for being "forthcoming," "candid" and "heartfelt."

He was relatively candid given how candid Belichick usually is. Everything is relative after all. 

Had it not been so disgusting, it might have been funny. 

I'm not sure "disgusting" is how Belichick's comments should be described given the fact Belichick was commenting on a murder that was committed by Aaron Hernandez. I think "disgusting" is how Hernandez should be described, not how Belichick should be described. 

All the great coach -- this molder of men -- did was finally take a few minutes out of his busy schedule, a month after Lloyd's last breath, to say he felt terrible that a 27-year-old was lowered into the ground too soon, murdered, allegedly, by one of his players. Belichick was praised for acting like a human being.

Belichick doesn't really pride himself on being a "molder of men" and any more than he prides himself on being a molder of a really good gameplan using men he has chosen who thinks can best execute the gameplan. By the time these men hit Belichick's locker room in New England they are already men and much of the molding should have taken place already. 

When the media were done applauding Belichick for doing the least amount possible, it was suggested that the Patriots did not owe the public a response, because it would give the impression that the organization was somehow responsible for Hernandez's alleged crimes.

I don't think the suggestion is that the Patriots didn't owe the public a response, but the suggestion was that the Patriots didn't need to get on their hands and knees while gnashing their teeth at what a grown man has chosen to do to another human being. The Patriots didn't exactly have culpability for Hernandez's actions and they owed the public a statement, much like the one given by Robert Kraft, in response to Hernandez's actions.

Here's the truth: The Patriots do owe the public, because they and every other sports team in America take from the public, profit from the public, sell their name to the public. The Patriots sell their players not just as athletes but as people whose names fans should wear proudly on their backs,

While this is all true, I'm still not sure what kind of apology or statement Howard Bryant was expecting. Robert Kraft had already made a statement and the Patriots made a statement by immediately releasing Hernandez when he was arrested, so I'm not sure a heartfelt plea for the world to forgive the Patriots organization, Brady and Belichick for employing Hernandez would have felt like it had a place in this given situation. It would have seemed odd. 

Teams bathe in the fiction that they value character, can spot it and develop it; yet here, when character actually mattered, the great coach and his legendary quarterback looked as small as a hash mark.

Putting the actions of Hernandez on the Patriots in any way is a major fallacy in logic me thinks. NFL teams do want their players to be virtuous and be good citizens in the community, but when an NFL player screws up and doesn't meet the standards for what his team wants him to be I'm not sure it is a reflection on the team. I think I've written this four times already in this short post, but I would love to know exactly what Howard Bryant wanted Tom Brady and Bill Belichick to say. What would they say to seem more human? I would bet Bryant has no clue what he wanted Brady and Belichick to say, other than not make the statement they ended up making.

Had Hernandez saved a toddler from drowning instead of allegedly putting a bullet into a friend, the Patriots would have claimed him.

Probably. It's not like the Patriots didn't claim Hernandez in this specific situation. They made a statement by immediately releasing Hernandez and Robert Kraft made a statement saying the Patriots were "duped" by Hernandez. If they were asked about Hernandez saving a toddler from drowning I imagine Belichick and Brady would have made a statement about how Hernandez is a great guy and then try to focus on football again. 

But since Brady, who has "moved on," values only victory, then maybe the public should not care about his golf tournaments, charity events and foundations, the image scrubbings that are part of the hero game.

Yes, absolutely. Because Tom Brady didn't give Howard Bryant and the general public the type of response they wanted then anything good for the community that Tom Brady does should be ignored. Look, Brady was being asked questions about Hernandez while at football practice and preparing for the season. Brady cares about moving on in the context of playing football, not in every aspect of his off-the-field life. Don't be willfully ignorant and pretend Brady is talking about moving on in every aspect of his life and throw a temper tantrum about ignoring Brady's charities. 

Here was a coach who talked community while disappearing from it. 

Belichick made a statement and he didn't even really have to do that. The fact Belichick didn't come back from vacation should not be significant. Robert Kraft made a statement as the Patriots owner and that is how it should be. 

And if anyone was surprised that a murder could actually get his attention, maybe Belichick was never a leader in the first place.

I don't think anyone is surprised that a murder got Belichick's attention, so this comment about Belichick possibly not being a leader in the first place doesn't make a lot of sense. Nice concise way to end the column though. Next time something monumental and controversial happens at ESPN I will look to Howard Bryant to provide leadership and provide a statement apologizing or commenting on the topic. If he cared about the ESPN community he would do that.


Snarf said...

This is the kind of article that really annoys me, simply because you know that had Belichick and Brady made a big deal about the situation, this writer would be telling us how they shouldn't be giving attention to him because it glorifies him, etc.

HH said...

Don't they also realize that there are huge legal implications to speaking on an ongoing legal matter in public? If the Patriots condemned Hernandez, they would be prejudicing a jury - remember Hernandez has not yet been convicted. Not everyone on your team of 50 is your best friend, and not everyone who works for you is a close associate. I wouldn't say much if my secretary was accused of murder because we interact infrequently, and because I have little to say about it until we know the facts for sure. Until then, condemning a murder - any murder - and then moving on with your life is really the only way to go.

Bengoodfella said...

Snarf, if they had made a big deal out of the situation then I think Howard Bryant would have found something else to complain about. If the Patriots had started the season 1-2 he would have written they should have focused more on the team rather than Hernandez.

HH, it's the same thing with those who criticize Braun's statement. There are ramifications for speaking in public like that and what you say can be used against you later, specifically in the Braun situation. In this case, it's an ongoing investigation (like you said) so the less said about it the better. It's not fair to either party to start spouting off opinions.