Wow, passionate emails on my post re: the Patriots*. In the last year I’ve posted more than 800 (?!?!) different items but this one got a lot of people plenty ticked off.
I’ll summarize the complaints:
– I was being very unChristian and judgmental.
– I need to learn forgiveness.
– Other teams cheat, including Shula’s Miami Dolphins.
– I am a bitter, angry, resentful Steelers fan jealous of Brady, Belichek, etc.
Let me be clear about what I wrote. When I labeled the Patriots* “cheaters”, I was not being judgmental. I was stating a fact. The NFL levied the harshest punishment against any NFL team in memory by fining them and taking away their first round draft pick. Love the Patriots, hate the Patriots, that is a big deal. That they cheat isn’t an opinion. It is a fact, much like saying the Boston Red Sox won the World Series. They are cheaters.
To say that I need to learn forgiveness – or that a “Christian” shouldn’t judge them – is silly. That would be like saying I shouldn’t “judge” Exxon for spilling millions of gallons of oil in Alaska in the 80s. Or saying I shouldn’t judge Enron or Arthur Anderson for their fiascos. Corporations aren’t people and don’t have souls or feelings. The Patriots* are a corporation, that’s it.
I agree that any team caught cheating should have an asterisk by its name just like players found to have cheated should return their medals, be stripped of their titles or have **** by their name. The irony here, of course, is that there is a huge debate about whether Barry Bonds should have an asterisk by his name for breaking the home run record when he hasn’t been accused or found guilty of anything.
Finally, I do love my Steelers. I really do. I’ve loved the black and gold since I was a kid. But they’ve won five Super Bowls in my lifetime, including one just a couple years ago, and they field competitive teams and that makes my love for them easy.
My point here is a broader, societal point. It is scary when we excuse cheating or we say that “everyone is doing it” or it is OK because it is just a game. It isn’t OK.