|Patriot Tom Brady|
by Christopher Tracy, a former NFL player.
The game of football is a microcosm of the society. NFL Football is a sport of strategic violence with people of multiple backgrounds competing for their right to succeed in the game. Amidst this ultimate team sport, you find joy, pain, love, hate, happiness, sadness, purpose, hard work, complex emotions, personal development, and yes, racism. Let's consider each team an independent State. All the States joined together for a league, or the Shield. Since each State employs its own president, we'll deem commissioner Roger Goodell the Emperor.
|NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell|
For a little over one million dollars per year, each so-called State employs the Emperor to do their bidding. The goal of his Highness is to make certain the Occupants abide by a particular set of rules, all of which ensure the prosperity of each State, and the Shield itself. Behind the Shield, the Emperor boasts of authenticity and integrity. As it relates to our Real World, that notion too, is not entirely true.
|Canton Bulldog Jim Thorpe|
The Shield is comprised of flawed men. From Jim Thorpe to Ray Rice. Like our Real World, there are more good people than bad. As well, our Real World loves to see its citizens built up, only to be broken down. In the year two thousand and one, our Real World needed a boost for the people after the tragedies in New York and Washington and Pennsylvania. Nothing unites us quite like a sporting event. In this time of battle, it's hard pressed to find any negative emotions within our existence, unless of course your State is losing. With the necessity of a moral boost, no word resonates with our citizens in these Americas quite like a New England Patriot.
|Free Agent Ray Rice|
We witnessed the rise of a Prince one snowy night in Boston, as a new "tuck rule" was created. That night spawned "Tom Terrific." Mr. Terrific was none other than a poster boy for this Emperor. A winner, an articulate leader, and a good man. We've witnessed the protection of Mr. Terrific and the State that chose him, from spying on other States to yet another rule change that requires defensive players to tackle the Prince and others like him above the knees.
Throughout the years, this plan was flawless. This particular State amassed multiple championships, respect, along with a seemingly unbreakable bond between the State Leader and the Emperor. The Shield was flourishing, and the Emperor had no reason to change a thing. The Occupants of the Shield saw the Emperor as less than authentic, and soon it spoiled over to our Real World occupants.
After multiple questionable decisions, something short of a revolution began. Real World citizens joined State Occupants in questioning the Emperor's judgement. This, of course led to the Emperor propelling into action, all in the name of protecting the Shield. Multiple States have been accused of cheating the Shield's rules. With each offence, a reasonable fine was levied, with virtually no ill word heard about it. In his desperate state of being, amidst a tumultuous year, the Emperor chose to exploit the reputation of the State that helped bolster his reign.
As other States have manipulated footballs for their personal gain, the Patriots elected to follow suit. This act of defiance gave the Emperor ammunition to somehow rectify his failing reputation, and express to Real World citizens that no State is above the Shield. His reaction was completely over board as it relates to the punishment other States have endured. But since the Shield is much like the Real World, someone has to pay. And this similarity resonates with the fall guy. Who is better to make an example out of than Mr. Terrific himself?
Did Tom Brady and the Patriots know the football's were being deflated? Of course. Did Mr. Goodell overreact in his punishment? Absolutely. The game of football is pure, the man in charge corrupts it. There's a line in Spike Lee's movie Malcom X: "That's too much power for one man to have." This is plainly evident in regards to Mr. Goodell and the league. But in this capitalistic society, the man has generated up to nine billion dollars annually for the league, and is arguably the greatest sport in the world, so what's the problem? He's successfully kept his sport in the media for an entire calendar year, by using his best friend and one of the most respected sports figures in the world, only to generate more money. God bless America.