Guest Column From George Cain
Once we got past the thrill of a Tom Brady-led last-minute comeback win over the Dallas Cowboys, it turned into another painful week for Boston sports fans. Starting right again on Monday, fans were subjected to endless Red Sox soap-opera babble on radio, TV and the internet.
Before I get into the locals, I’ve got to comment on Bryant Gumbel’s editorial during Tuesday night’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” on HBO.
Slavery was an unspeakable, horrible disgrace, which has and will forever scar this country. That is why Gumbel calling David Stern a “modern plantation overseer” is beyond revolting. It was pathetic, idiotic, and shouldn’t be rationalized, explained or overlooked. NBA basketball players and their commissioner, David Stern all who are multi-millionaires, are not analogous with anything that has to do with SLAVERY, plantations or civil rights. Bryant Gumbel, as an African-American should know that better than anyone. Is he that desperate to become relevant in the media that he would stoop this low? So forget who is responsible for the lockout, I am just talking the language.
The failure of the national media and some local stations (98.5) to criticize Gumbel was pathetic. (note: WEEI’s Big Show did spend time on this topic on Thursday.) Gumbel’s lack of an unforgiving tone makes him as close minded as those he condemns. Mike Francesa’s rationalizing of a double standard today is also not acceptable to me. It seems every time someone tries to disparage a group or an individual in a public setting they resort to calling them Nazis, or in this case the worst kind of racist. Take it from someone who works in the private sector, that stuff doesn’t fly in my world and it shouldn’t be tolerated any place else.
On the MUCH, MUCH, MUCH softer side of things, the Felger and Mazz show was insufferable this week. They continued harping on the Red Sox saga all week and by Friday they had turned it into Larry Lucchino vs The Sports Hub. If this was a friend of yours talking you would have told them to shut up by now. Felger and Mazz are either very insecure or very arrogant.
Also on the Sports Hub – Tuesdays with Wiggy. I like Jermaine Wiggins, but so far he’s not bringing much to the table. Jermaine, I know you were there for some good times with the Patriots, but negativity is not an opinion. You have to have some facts, beyond and I am paraphrasing, “well if Dallas didn’t drop passes…..blah, blah,blah.” In every NFL game teams on both sides drop passes, fumble, etc. In the end, the better team usually makes the plays when they need to and we saw that this week.
This brings me to my media idiot of the week. I have said in this space before I don’t care much for Tony Massarotti. For years he’s always tried to get a seat at the big table playing the negative angle. Hey, I don’t like hometown cheerleaders either, I think it contributed to the fall of the Big Show on WEEI, but being negative for the sake of negativity is not only boring, its lazy.
Case in point, Tony Mazz’s belittling of the Patriots wins over the Cowboys and Jets. Mazz cited that the slightly improved Patriot defense had NOTHING to do with the Patriots and everything to do with the other teams. There is nothing wrong with that opinion, but when you win it, it can’t be the fault of the other team and when you lose it, it can’t be your fault. This has become more than a trend on the Felger and Mazz Show but a mantra. John Henry might be right; Tony is an entertainer, playing a part, the part of the”Angry” talk show host. It’s beneath Tony and beneath the show. Don’t look now, but Felger and Mazz are starting to show the arrogance of success that we saw from Ordway and the crew for the last 10 years.
In 2003, the Patriots were coming off a second place 9-7 season where they did not make the playoffs. They were not a Super Bowl favorite, they were hardly an AFC East favorite, but that season they went 17-2 and won a Super Bowl. The Patriots won 8 games by a touchdown or less, and won 3 games where they scored 12 points or less. It was a different time with different rules, but the Patriots were a dropped/batted-down pass from going to OT against Tennessee in the first round. My point, in a single elimination tournament, even teams with the slightest of flaws are vulnerable.
I have been as critical as anyone of this Patriot defense, but at this point you have to take the long view. The Patriots face some really good QB’s (Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Vick, Fitzpatrick) and some really bad ones (Moore, Beck, Tebow) in the next ten games. If they win 11 or 12 games it won’t be ALWAYS because of the other team’s incompetence.
So here’s to you Tony, my media idiot of the week; you earned it!