Many fans of the National Football League know New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski to be a goof ball or meathead. However, what he did in Sunday’s matchup against the Buffalo Bills was uncalled for.
Gronkowski was jammed in coverage by rookie Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White. At times, White held Gronkowski, but wasn’t penalized for it on the play. When White made the interception against Gronkowski and went down at the end of the play, Gronkowski dove into White with his helmet and shoulder, after the play was over.
Rob Gronkowski lost his cool. What a dirty play. pic.twitter.com/b2gFWp03yj
— Cameron DaSilva (@camdasilva) December 3, 2017
After he made the late hit, Gronkowski was penalized, but not ejected. This action resulted in White going into concussion protocol and being out for the rest of the game. New England head coach Bill Belichick said to Bills head coach Sean McDermott after the game that the hit was “bull****”.
Gronkowski would somewhat apologize after the game, but cite that he didn’t receive the calls that he felt he deserved.
“I don’t really believe in the type of shots like that, but just due to frustration process, game of football, emotions, just, just…that’s what happened,” said Gronkowski.
Gronkowski would be suspended on Monday for his cheap shot.
I personally had much to say about the matter on Sunday night, rolling into Monday morning:
If Rob Gronkowski just lost his cool, then why did he try to rationalize what he did after the game? Losing his cool should result in a two-game suspension. #Patriots
— Kyle J. Andrews (@KyleAndrews1994) December 4, 2017
This egregiously stupid and harmful act doesn’t even take into account all of the other dumb things that he does. His antics are childish and he’s a grown man. He’s 28 years old. Not a teenager. Treat him like one. Call him out for it.
— Kyle J. Andrews (@KyleAndrews1994) December 4, 2017
Gronkowski is a Repeat Offender
What many don’t realize is that Gronkowski is a repeat offender of foolish antics on the field. ESPN’s Kevin Seifert explained that the 28-year old tight end could be primed for a suspension because of offenses against both the Seattle Seahawks and the Indianapolis Colts:
Two instances immediately come to mind. Gronkowski was fined $8,268 in 2015 for fighting near the end of the Patriots’ Super Bowl XLIX victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Earlier that season, he had also been fined $8,268 for unnecessary roughness against Indianapolis Colts cornerback Sergio Brown. Gronkowski famously referred to the play as throwing Brown “out of the club.”
Adding onto Gronkowski’s bad behavior on the field are his actions off of the field. Many fans and media even seem to play into the “frat boy” persona that Gronkowski exudes. Often times, he will make “69” jokes that one would expect from a high school or middle schooler. He even gave a female FOX Sports 1 reporter a lap dance on live television, yet still no suspension.
In an NFL where Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was blasted for his comments against women, Gronkowski’s actions against women have been just as bad and they show a double-standard in the NFL.
Two Double-Standards For Gronkowski
There are two double-standards that are afforded by Gronkowski. The first is that Gronkowski isn’t a minority. Back in April on FS1’s Undisputed, Shannon Sharpe felt that black players weren’t afforded the same tolerance as white players were.
“Skip Bayless, let’s just say for the sake of argument the New York Giants or the Dallas Cowboys or the Pittsburgh Steelers win the Super Bowl, and on the parade route you see Odell Beckham, you see Dez Bryant, you see Antonio Brown grab beers and start chugging them,” said former Denver Broncos/Baltimore Ravens tight end Sharpe. “What would be said? You already know.”
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) April 6, 2017
The public perception of Gronkowski is similar to the perception of Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte. Lochte was detained in Brazil last year for damaging a gas station bathroom while intoxicated and lying about it. Words to describe him were “kid”, who “had fun”.
Black athletes aren’t given the same opportunity when it comes to the court of public opinion. When black athletes have off-the-field issues, they are often called “thugs” or “hoodlums”. They are even subjected to coded language when they make mistakes on the field, with broadcasters often citing black players’ lack of intelligence, without specifically saying why.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is often protected by the referees from injuries. Anytime a player gets within a few feet of legs of Brady, they are flagged or fined heavily. When it comes to Patriots players themselves, they are allowed to get away with highway robbery. It is unfair how New England is treated with kid gloves, but other teams feel the wrath of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell when they wrong the Patriots.
A one-game suspension is good optics for the NFL. In reality, it’s a slap in the face to what they say they stand for. They want to stand for player safety, women’s issues and other topics, but they completely go against that when they don’t levy a heavy punishment against Gronkowski. In addition, the media has the ability to call out Gronkowski on his poor character and that duty seems to have been lost on many. It is up to journalists and the NFL both to hold players accountable, not just the minorities or non-Patriot players.
(Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Image)