Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Most Unnecessary Pep Talk in Football History

That came yesterday when Tom Brady advised Patriots fans to get a head start on their drinking before filing into Gillette Stadium to watch the Pats play the Chargers on Sunday. What came after Brady's minor pleasantry was unneccessary, deplorable, and moronic.

The quarterback was subjected to a wave of criticism, much of it, alas, from members of my former profession, for talking about the drinking of alcoholic beverages in an approving way. How dare he! What of the children? Doesn't Brady know he's a role model?

Kids, if you're reading this, Brady SHOULD be your role model. You become a rich football hero and marry a supermodel and your folks will be proud, guaranteed.

All Brady did was acknowledge the universal truth (outside of Brigham Young home games) that football fans like to, and have always liked to, bend the elbow a bit out in the parking lots prior to kickoff. Also after the game, and if the lines too long in the stadium, during the game. In short, football and drinking have been partners since Princeton-Rutgers in 1869, for which the National Football League is very grateful. Many countries don't have GDP equal to the sum Anheuser-Busch InBev laid on the NFL to be its official beer sponsor.

What Brady did to make folks mad was fail to be a hypocrite. He implied it was humorous that football fans drink, rather than indicating his extreme disapproval of their bad habit. You wouldn't catch a TV news anchor making the same mistake, no sir. Hypocrisy has become the H following the five Ws of journalism. Facts and reality bother people. Then they get too upset to buy stuff from your advertisers.

In my career, I dealt with my share of drunk fans at venues of all sports. It's not pleasant. People shouldn't get drunk at ballgames. But in my experience, relatively few do. Most drink a mite, but only as a spur to their real drug of choice talking/arguing with other fans. Again in my experience, the vast majority of fans drink way, way more watching games on television at home or in public places than if they paid for a ticket.

So it was perfectly okay for Brady to josh Pats fans about having a few belts. It was perfectly idiotic for anyone in sports media to bash him for doing so. Do you guys/gals WANT to spend a working life without any good quotes? Then keep up the hypocritical moralizing.

Here's the Michael Gee course on Jock Media Relations, offered free to any athletes who wander upon my corner of the Internet. It's a very short course. There are only two lessons, one on each recommended method of handling yourself.

1. The Full Steve Carlton. Say nothing. Clam up and stay clammed your whole career. For extra credit, fail to show up for your own retirement ceremony.

2. Be a robot. Speak nothing but the blandest, most banal cliches about your sport, your life, and life in general. Never show wit, anger, or any other of the qualities that make human existence worthwhile. And for God's sake, never, ever say anything that implies what you do offers anyone on earth any pleasure or fun, especially to yourself.

Tom Brady really enjoys being a football hero. That was his real sin yesterday.


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