Friday, January 15, 2016

Silence Is an Answer, Sometimes Even a Good One

As everyone knew he would, Bill Belichick decided that clamming up and staying clammed was his best possible response to questions about Chandler Jones' very bad drug experience last weekend. Actually, it probably wasn't even a decision, just a primal response to stress.

The Pats' coach, after all, had spent previous press conferences refusing to answer a question that had no possible bearing on how his football team will perform in the NFL playoffs, namely, "hey, Bill, how'd you get the black eye?" Belichick's commitment to silence is such he was willing to appear a complete ass from coast to coast then display the slightest amount of self-deprecating humor about a minor personal accident (exercise equipment mishap is my guess).

Well, we all have our little personal quirks/demons. In the Jones case, Belichick's silence was sound policy even if based on paranoia. There was nothing he could say that would not make this weird situation a bigger story than it already was. More significantly, there was nothing he could say that wouldn't make Belichick himself part of the story. THAT was a prospect to be avoided at all costs.

I was a journalist for over 25 years, and naturally wished that all my questions received answers, preferably honest ones. But I also tried to have some empathy for those I interviewed (leads to better questions) and if in their place I wouldn't have said word one, I wasn't unhappy when they didn't. So it doesn't bother me that Belichick isn't real anxious to delve into his personal and official reactions to an important player engaging in a comically stupid fuckup shortly before a real big game.

Jones, after all, recovered enough from his bad drug experience to show up for work the next day apparently none the worse for wear. Youth, it's a beautiful thing.

But I bet Belichick knew something was up. He's Wesleyan '75 after all. Speaking as a Wesleyan '71, I can confidently state that even if the coach never had a bad (or good!) drug experience himself in his college days, he saw some, enough to remember what they look like from the outside.


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