In the category of “best article I’ve seen so far addressing this threat to free speech” . . .

Pats’ Chris Long responds to call for him to stand up against Donald Trump

Chuck Modiano, a writer for the New York Daily News, wrote an open letter to Chris Long, a player for the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. It’s an offensive letter in all the worst ways. It’s whiny. It’s insulting. It’s coercive. It’s manipulative. It’s logically fallacious. It’s inconsistent. It’s hypocritical. It’s smug. It’s anti–free-speech. It’s classic guilt-trip bullying. Chris Long’s response, on the other hand, is simply classic.

 
Oh Chuck. Planned on skipping, hadn’t been asked. Don’t need an open letter explaining my own words to me. Not *joining* anyone. My call. https://t.co/XWo9x2XT40
— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) February 9, 2017

And Vincent Frank, writing for Sportsnaut.com, has a refreshing take on the entire question of sports stars standing up for what they believe, including—at times—avoiding a celebratory trip to the White House because of the current occupant of said house.

 
Yes, Long ‘announced’ that he will likely be the fourth member of the Patriots to avoid meeting President Trump. That’s not the big story here. . . .

“Instead, it’s that a columnist would go as far to pretty much tell someone else what to do. Is that a signal those in opposition of this administration want to send? We’re surely okay with freedom of speech and the right to self-determination as long as it fits into what we believe to be right.

“Long did a tremendous job pushing back against that while maintaining his own individuality here. Let’s hope other players follow suit at a time when those in the professional sports world are being asked to talk about stuff outside of their own profession.
— Vincent Frank

Whether someone chooses to go to the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl victory—or chooses to not go—is a matter of personal conviction (or at least it should be). Let’s not make out to be more than it is, whether we agree or disagree with someone’s choice.

Also in the category of “if your friend is a racist, so are you” . . .

In the category of “the witch hunt continues” . . .

 
In a recent column, *The Root’s* senior editor Stephen A. Crockett Jr. called the Patriots ‘racist-adjacent’ because Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft are friends with Donald Trump. He defended his words in an appearance with Kirk & Callahan Wednesday.

Though Crockett said the article was satirical, he still believes Brady should be criticized for his ties to the President.

‘I don’t know if you need to back off, but I feel like there needs to be something said here,’ he explained. ‘If Brady and Trump are friends and then had a private friendship prior to this—as he continues to escalate, as he runs for president and the White House, as he has proven himself in the first three weeks to be absolutely ridiculous. At some point, you as a public figure have to make a stand or you are agreeing with all of the policies that go along with it. I don’t see how that doesn’t work.’

No comment needed, right? Follow this link to see the Crockett article. Crockett claimed that his article was satire. That defies the definition of satire. It may have had some humor; but humor and satire are not mutually inclusive. Sorry, dude.

In the category of “absurdity abounds” . . .

In the category of “here’s a stupid article that has almost zero logic or facts” . . .

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In the category of “a footballer’s footballer” . . .

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Brady Probably won’t be 2016 MVP

The Short Case for Tom Brady 

Tom Brady probably won’t be the MVP of the NFL in 2016. Maybe he shouldn’t be. But with the overwhelming majority of sports commentators and columnists arguing against his MVP credentials, he deserves for his case to be heard. The primary argument I’ve heard is “Tom Brady didn’t play a full season.” Case closed; end of story. Oh, they go on about stats, comparing Brady’s with Matt Ryan’s, Ezekiel Elliott’s, Dak Prescott’s, Aaron Rodgers’, and Derek Carr’s. Some mention Russell Wilson or Matthew Stafford or (fill in the blank).

But they don’t seem to really care about the stats, because no one has ever won the MVP award after playing only three-quarters of a season. Only Joe Montana came close, winning MVP after playing only thirteen games (one more than Brady). They go on about how this stat of Brady’s is great or that stat is great, but this other player’s one stat is a little better and, oh, Brady played only twelve games, so it really doesn’t matter what his stats are. It may sound like I’m repeating myself, and that’s because I am—because the anti-Brady intelligentsia repeat themselves. The criticisms of Brady’s stats seldom go beyond his lack of games played.

To be fair, the lack of full schedule for Brady is significant. It must be one of the variables included in the MVP equation. At what point does the lack of games played become disqualifying? Can we safely say if a player hasn’t played more than half the season? I certainly think so. How about ten games? That still seems pretty low. That’s not even two-thirds of the games. Can we agree that that’s too low? I think if a player missed six games of the season and his team lost all six games miserably, and won all the games he played easily and made the playoffs as a result, then maybe he would actually be a shoo-in for MVP—but the circumstances would have to be something blatantly obvious like that. Missing one or two games is certainly not enough to disqualify a player, so Derek Carr remains in the hunt.

One of the common objections to Brady receiving the MVP is that the Patriots did just fine without him for the first three games. So if Belichick can do that without Brady, it diminishes Brady’s importance to the team. What would those same people say about Jimmy Garoppolo if Tom Brady had been out the whole season and Garoppolo came back from injury in game five after missing two games—and then performed at a level similar to the first two games for the rest of the season? “Oh, well, he couldn’t possibly be MVP because he’s not nearly as great a quarterback as Brady and look how well they did with him anyway.” Would Garoppolo be snubbed for MVP because of the greatness of his coach? (The cynic in me says, “Probably.”) Great coaches help great players become great and great players help great coaches become great. Could Belichick really have accomplished what he’s accomplished the last fifteen years without Brady? If Brady retires and Belichick goes on to coach for another fifteen years and wins four more Super Bowls, then maybe we can say that the Belichick part of the Belichick-Brady equation is the primary variable. Until then, we must look at their body of work together and simply admire the output of that combination.

One stat speaks volumes to me regarding Tom Brady’s performance—beyond the relative, percentile sort of stats. Tom Brady played only twelve games. Matt Ryan played sixteen games. How many games did Matt Ryan win? Eleven. How many games did Tom Brady win? Eleven. Were Matt Ryan’s total numbers higher than Brady’s? Yes. How many games did it help his team win? Only the same amount as the other guy in this discussion. The sheer output of yards doesn’t make you the most valuable. Valuable, yes. Most valuable? Not necessarily.

In addition to that, let's not forget the off-season and pre-season work Tom Brady did in helping his team prepare. So Brady couldn’t participate in anything directly related to the team for four weeks. He worked with the team throughout training camp and pre-season. He worked with Garoppolo to get him ready. And Brady has set the gold standard for off-season work with his receivers. Brady didn’t personally perform for the first four games, and the MVP is built on personal performance on the field, but we can’t look at the missed four weeks and simply dismiss them.

Is Matt Ryan a good quarterback? Yes. Has he had an outstanding year? Yes. Is his performance worthy of the MVP? Probably. Aaron Rodgers? Awfully good the last six weeks, but probably not MVP-worthy. If Matt Ryan wins the MVP, I’ll be happy for him and I’ll say he deserves it, because I think he does. I’m not prepared to say he deserves it more than Tom Brady, so if Brady gets the MVP, I won’t think that’s unjustified.

 

© 2017 Courtney A Huntington

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