— TODAY (@TODAYshow) February 13, 2017
Mr. Kraft: “Well, you know what’s interesting, this is our, I’m happy to say, fifth Super Bowl in the last 16 years.And every time we’ve had the privilege of going to the White House, a dozen of our players don’t go. This is the first time it’s gotten any media attention. You know, some of the players have the privilege of going in college because they’re on National Championship teams, others have family commitments. But this is America. We’re all free to do whatever’s best for us. We’re just privileged to be in a position to be going.”
In the words of Tom Hanks in “Apollo 13,” that is how we do that. That’s how to take the latest in an endless cycle of phony controversy and take all the air out of it. (I didn’t intend that pun but I’m not backing down from it either.) Right now America is in this continuous loop of feigned outrage leading to fake allegations of oppressing free speech which just causes more faux outrage. It’s Ouroboros, the snake eating its tail, played out in a billion unreadable Facebook arguments that make you long for the days of cat videos and foodies posting photos of their entrees.
So Devin McCourty, Chris Long, Martellus Bennett and few others hate Trump and refuse to go to the White House. I am running critically low on fucks to give about a lot of things, and I’m not about to waste any on this. In fact, good for them. More power to them. I admire their conviction. And Mr. Kraft is handling it exactly as he should.
My beef isn’t with any athlete who turns down the invitation; it’s with anyone who gets all righteously indignant about their decision. Seriously, why would anyone burn the calories necessary to even care? Looking back, the reaction to Tim Thomas conscientiously objecting to go to the Obama White House was an embarrassment. The fact that Bruins ownership was butthurt and tried to talk him into going is laughable. In an instant Thomas was turned from a Stanley Cup hero who might have turned in the greatest year, regular- and postseason combined, of any Boston athlete ever, into a cartoon supervillain. He might as well have joined the Klan for the reaction he got. Most of it coming from the same people who didn’t mind in the slightest that Theo Epstein and Larry Lucchino told George W. Bush to screw seven years earlier. When Tom Brady went to the Apple store instead of the White House, some people acted like he’d just wiped his ass with Old Glory. But when Theo made special arrangements to get the Cubs to visit Obama instead of Trump, the only reaction from any of us was that it made perfect sense. So why should we think any differently if some Patriots go and some don’t? Or if some will boycott President D and not President R?
The whole reason a bunch of Massholes bled the ground red at places like Lexington and Bunker Hill was precisely so guys like these wouldn’t have to bow down to a king, kiss his ring or give him a shirt with his name and a “1” on the back while he mispronounces names off an index card. So I don’t hate them for exercising it. I only hate the people who hate them. Or who only hate them depending on who the king is. Now let’s hope this is never a topic, ever again.