I don’t know about you, but I’m a little sick of opinions. They may be repackaged these days as #HOTSPORTZTAKES but really in many instances, they’re just a way to justify saying something stupid.

Wait, did I just give my opinion?

Oh well.

The NFL is a mess. That much is obvious. What is also obvious is that the media will insert themselves into the narrative for their own gain. This is not breaking news. We’ll get pieces threatening to stop watching the NFL. (Hi Adam Kaufman!) which, when I see, only makes me hope this means they’ll actually stop writing and talking about the NFL too.

We get Kirk Minihane going on a week-long binge of attacking those who don’t express their opinion. All of a sudden Minihane is Senator Joseph McCarthy seeking out members of the communist party. Tom Brady hasn’t said he’s against child abuse. So that must mean he is for it….How long have you supported wife beating, Rodney Harrison?

Oh wait, my bad. Kirk says his issue is not that Brady isn’t willing to give an opinion (but really, that IS what Kirk’s problem is) but that he thinks Brady is wrong to say that his opinion isn’t going to make a difference.

That’s a matter of opinion. A really, really dumb opinion.

Will the NFL and the Vikings change their stance based on what Tom Brady says? No. Of course not. The only reason any changes are happening right now is because sponsors and advertisers are either pulling out their money and support of the league or are threatening to do so. Does Brady speaking out influence that? No. Is it an impossible scenario? I guess not, but likely? No. What influences those entities is cries from the consumer and threats that they will stop purchasing the product.

Minihane and ProJo Red Sox writer Brian MacPherson went on a Twitter string together about how Brady’s comments were “Pretty weak” a “total whiff” and “shockingly out of touch.

What they don’t get though, is that had Brady made a comment about it, even a simple condemnation of the act, it becomes HUGE. Not a little 10-second thing to deal with as Kirk would have you believe.

Rich Levine outlines this scenario better than I ever possibly could. Which is why he’s making the big bucks and I’m a lowly part-time media blogger.

Why Tom Brady doesn’t speak out

Read it.

Also on CSNNE, a cerebral piece by Tom E Curran.

Free speech is also about right to stay silent

As Curran says:

Brady offering anything wouldn’t cause an epiphany for Adrian Peterson. It would, however, cause moans of pleasure in our business because it would add content and a new angle. Of course, Brady – and any other marquee player – taking a pass provides us this content anyway. (Which is what this column is…)

Which is all most in the media really want.

Even nationally, Brady is taking heat. Witness these two blog posts:

Tom Brady deliberately remaining quiet on NFL’s many current crises

The Patriot Way: Tom Brady Declines to Take a Stand On Ray Rice, Other NFL Scandals

The second article suggests that Brady doesn’t want to speak because he doesn’t want to offend Peterson because the Patriots plan to sign him once he’s released by the Vikings, because the Patriots have a history of bringing in troubled players.

The writer isn’t wearing a tinfoil hat in his photo, but I think he was while writing that post.

What I don’t get is the target Brady has on him for this. Where are these articles about Peyton Manning? Aaron Rodgers? Has Calvin Johnson weighed in? (Er, check that.) How about the never reticent Richard Sherman, who has no problem talking about other people? Are there articles being written about them?  No? Why not?


16 thoughts on “Shame On You For Not Having an Opinion!

  1. Levine and Curran each nailed it. I especially love Levine’s excellent rendition of Tony Mazz in the 4 0’clock hour. I actually did LOL…


  2. Bruce, you forgot Seth Rogen. I honestly can’t make up my mind on anything until he shares his unvarnished opinions on the matters of the day. Why has he not weighed in?


  3. Here is another good article on the media coverage on all of these things:


    Basically, if you’re clued in, it’s nothing new to know that if you don’t shill, you don’t have access. You don’t have access, you don’t get the hot tips. No hot tips = probably means you’re not making as much or working for a big org. Nothing really different than general news coverage.


  4. Bruce,

    I have a slightly different perspective on this topic. Whereas I understand the need for high profile players to be silent, else they cause an event to become unwittingly about what they say, I am always reminded of a quote by Martin Niemoller (a german pastor who lived during the Holocaust)

    “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

    To me, and this is just my opinion…it is infuriating that the other players continually stay silent when these huge issues/scandals/messes erupt in pro sports. The PED mess in baseball could have been avoided had the “clean” players stood up and said “hey there are guys cheating and if it does not get dealt with I am either going to have to cheat to keep up or be forced out of the game”.

    Would the hazing incident in Miami be avoided if High School and College players stood up and said no…just because someone is a rookie does not mean they have to drink piss and have a lousy hair cut.

    Perhaps, the epidemic of domestic violence in pro and college sports could have been handled years ago had players with Drew Bledsoe’s profile stood up and said “Its great coach Parcells that you want to draft a player like Christian Peters but he beat his girl friend almost to death in college so I am not going to play with him.” Or if Peyton Manning were to say “Hey Nike, Adrian Peterson beats kids, if you continue to sponsor him I am out”. Or maybe Tom Brady should have said “Bill, you are the coach and GM but Corey Dillon beat his ex wife. I do not want to be associated with him…I do not care if he says he is rehabilitated he is a bad dude”. Maybe that action gets Ray Rice thinks twice before hitting his wife because there is a social stigma in the NFL against domestic violence. Or Maybe Tony Dungy should have suspended or cut Michael Pittman after the 49th domestic violence complaint was filed against him so that the 50th one (the one that got Pittman suspended all of 3 games) might not have been made because he would have learned that actions have consequences.

    Players do have a voice. They also control their own union. They should be embarrassed that the Union is now trying to get Rice reinstated on a technicality…as if he is ENTITLED to play football. These people seriously need to learn the difference between Privilege and Right. I have had arguments with people on this board who believe that what happens off the field should have no impact on what the play that occurs on it. I have always disagreed. I think you can field a team of Boy Scouts and be successful in the NFL. I think it is harder. I think it would make your front office work harder, but it can be done. More importantly it shows the fans that winning is not the only thing.

    Sir Edmond Burke wrote “All that needs to be done for Evil to prevail, is for good men to do nothing”. I truly believe that the code of silence, omertà, that exists in professional sports does more harm than good. It allows for the attitude of entitlement to take over, where these people believe being an athlete means they get special privileges, rights and rules. If the athletes did stand up and say “No…I do not stand for that” then maybe something would change. Instead they stay quiet, “I don’t want to get involved, nope not me”.

    It took Radisson Hotels suspending their sponsorship of the Vikings pressers to get Nike to look at its affiliation with AP to get Anheuser Busch to look look at its entire relationship with the NFL. Imagine what would have happened had Brady, Manning, Drew Brees and Aaron Rogers released a statement together saying “Domestic Violence, be it against a kid or a spouse is unconscionable and we want the league and the NFLPA to have a zero tolerance policy towards it going forward. If you abuse your wife, girl friend or child…first incidence is a year and mandatory counseling…second time you are done forever.” That would have gotten people to stand up and notice. It would have gotten Goodell to react swiftly in the AP, Hardy and MacDonald cases. Finally, it would have sent a message to the fans, and more importantly to future players…just because players earn a lot of fame and money playing football, that does not give them a green light be Evil.


    1. Great points.

      I think you’re absolutely right on the “PA” part on basically being complicit here. Want to make a stand and statement? In addition to possibly getting a nice bargaining chip against the NFL? NFLPA announces a zero tolerance policy for its members on issues of DV.

      As you pointed out, to this day, the MLBPA gets zero flack for the steroids thing. While Bud looked the other way, in addition to the owners, the MLBPA refused for how many years? They were eventually forced by the possible intervention of Congress for it to change.

      To spark such a change, the “big name” players such as Brady, Brees, Manning, etc. could easily lead such a thing. They won’t be cut for being “distractions” due to their tenure and ability, but it’d sure go a long way to helping solve the problem.

      It’d help if the media also asked the question but it’s far too easy for them to frame the “evil” part with a commissioner making way too much and billionaires who are morally bankrupt on when it comes to “doing the right thing”.


    2. I largely agree with you, LTD. Domestic abuse is more of a cultural phenomenon than a deliberate political and social program, like the holocaust was, but prominent players speaking against it will help to shine more light on the issue–though public pressure seems to be turning that light onto it now, as we discuss this. Company-minded guys like Brady and Manning aren’t going to do much, or anything, to disgruntle their bosses, but it’s hard to see them bucking the trend if the league and its sponsors want something said. In other words, expect no leadership from them on these things. They’ve got the Michael Jordan-Republicans-buy-shoes-too attitude. And like anti-Jewish feeling in Europe, there’s a pervasive culture of male violence toward spouses and partners in this country which exists but is seldom voiced openly.

      I suspect the concept of whipping your children–a switch is another word for a whip–is a pretty big cultural issue in this country too, which is receiving a lot of attention only now, for the first time. It may well be a black/white issue (nothing is perfectly so, of course), like Charles Barkley said: “Whipping – we do that all the time. Every black parent in the South is going to be in jail under those circumstances.” How right or wrong he is I can’t say–but a few other athletes have said similar things–so it makes me think of Vick and dogfighting. Vile, abusive, unacceptable in public, and a widespread, though underground, aspect of our culture.

      If the NFL starts cracking down on all this stuff, they’re going to find themselves with a lot fewer players. I’m not saying that shouldn’t happen–these reports of abuse have sickened me–but these things strike me as even worse than the concussion issue for the league, being a serious problem that is largely beyond their power to control. I think the PEDs and highly cultivated aggression needed to play this game make violence and abuse inevitable in the off-the-field lives of many of the players–forms of aggression already present in our society become that much worse in a lot of these guys (to say nothing of football players who don’t make it to the NFL at all). I really wonder, aside from putting players in Big Brother-type environments, if there’s ultimately anything the NFL can do at all about this. They will try–they’ve got 15 billion annual reasons why–but I wonder what power they’ll actually have to effect change.


      1. Absolutely great post, agramante. You touch on an issue which is another pet peeve of mine. Cultural acceptance of behavior that is wrong and the idea that the rest of us have to accept it. We fought a civil war over this exact point 150 years ago.

        Where you and I would maybe disagree a little is on whether the NFL and teams are in a position to deal with these issues. They are. They pay players millions of dollars not to play the game but to wear their uniform when playing the game. They can insist on acceptable behavior on and off the field otherwise the player does not get to receive untold riches for playing a kids game.

        The issue is whether the league and teams want to be agents of change. I have been arguing for many years that the NFL and players make money because they are famous. Fame is a derived from popularity plus a willingness to consume your product. All that needs to happen is for NFL owners to realize (which I think they did last week, whether it lasts is a different story) that having their players behave off the field is better than winning on the field and they will then have all the financial incentive in the world to change the type of characters they are willing to sell their soul to in order to win.


    3. As a followup, Jason Gay, of the WSJ, wrote a good piece about this:

      @JasonWSJ Could NFL teams create a useful dialogue about social issues? Hmm. Many NFL teams can’t create an NFL team. http://on.wsj.com/XELIrv

      I think he’s right. Most teams are setup to be units that play games. The closest thing they come to ’causes’ is being cheerleaders for the NFL and its sponsors. To ask them to do anything else is really beyond their ability. Impossible? No, but I think its an uphill battle.


  5. I know D&C&M don’t have a lot of fans here but I get a kick out of them taking some shots at 98.5 now and in particular, Tony Mazz. Hell even Gresh and Zo fire shots across the bow at F&M for their absurd football observations. But DCM mocking Mazz this morning for his ridiculous notion(s) of Brady and Bill and Jimmy G and 10 tons of other bullllshit.

    Inside radio question – I didn’t know either station could use soundbites of other hosts. Felger often plays audio fo Dale Arnold, and lately DCM has played Mazz saying “stoopid!” and one other soundbite, usually when they are mocking him. I always thought there were some legalities surrounding that. Or maybe it was just considered taboo and the 4th wall is coming down.


    1. I am not a legal expert…we call on DaveR for legal opinions, but my understanding is that they can use the clips without permission in obvious parody situations and in obvious news situations (meaning host says X and it is being discussed). What they can’t do is use content for entertainment purposes without permission. To avoid any areas where there potential interpretation issues they generally don’t use stuff.

      As for F&M using Dale…I would bet that is audio taken from Dale’s hockey work on NESN and that they have permission. Likewise I think the Mazz cut on D&C&M comes from CSSNE and I bet they have permission for that as well. I could be wrong but that is my bet.


      1. My understanding is the same but I’d like clarification. There’s a “fair use doctrine” which governs that you’re allowed to play most clips if you’re going to reference it later on. You can’t play the entire thing or start using someone elses show as yours, of course.

        Certain leagues, I know MLB has this, also dictate that radio stations are NOT allowed to play any “clips” of radio or TV feeds until the game is done, even if they are a partner in some form. So, a host can describe a play and give the scores, but they cannot use a radio/TV clip of it, even if they have the rights, until that game is over.

        Would definitely be interested if someone has insight here.


  6. I agree with Bruce when he says “We’ll get pieces threatening to stop watching the NFL. (Hi Adam Kaufman!) which, when I see, only makes me hope this means they’ll actually stop writing and talking about the NFL too.”

    I follow a lot of other media types on Twitter and one of them is absolutely brutal on football. Adam12, ex of WFNX and WBCN and now one of the big personalities on BDC radio, has no love for the sport and dumps on it repeatedly. These last few weeks have been down right awful. Even when he was on WBCN and tried to tow the company line, he sounded disgusted that he had to talk about football. Baseball, on the other hand, is sacrosanct. I love what he brings about music but he should just lay off the sports stuff.

    As for Brady, no one needs to worry what he thinks. I don’t bring up domestic violence in my daily discussions at work either. Does that mean I support it? Apparently.


  7. JESUS. F**KING. CHRIST. Is/was Mazz serious with his complete insanity regarding Brady posting his college resume on Facebook as part of “throwback Thursday.” I mean, this is a bit, right? Beetle said he was being a bit insane and Felger said he was doing it just to bait Mazz, but Tony actually seemed serious with his psychotic ramblings. He’s trolling us. He has to be. If not, then wow….he has completely jumped the shark. Beetle said “you’re looking way to much into this. This is insane.” and Fleger says “we’re conjuring up an entire fictional conversation inside Tom Brady’s head.” BUT, Mazz says “I know Mike, BUT……” At that point I almost threw my iPad in front of an oncoming train.


    1. I’m pretty sure that if Tom Brady showed up for an interview, the last thing he needs is a resume–at least around here.


    2. As long as we listen, they keep doing it. Whatever gets you to tune in. They don’t care if you throw your iPad in anger, as long as they get the ratings points you can provide. Say no to Mazz!


  8. When is Minihane going to write an article condoning racism? Obviously he is a proponent of the practice because he works with two of the biggest racists on the air in Boston.


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