An interesting thing happened last week didn’t get the attention I think it deserved. In the midst of the many protest that were occurring around the nation in response to the grand jury decisions involving the shooting of Mike Brown in Missouri and the choking death Eric Garner in New York City, something happened in sports that further solidifies how black men are perceived and treated differently than others in this country.
Last Sunday, the Green Bay Packers beat the New England Patriots 26-21. There was time left on the clock for a potential comeback for the Patriots, but Aaron Rodgers and “the Pack” sealed the deal with a gutsy 7-yard reception on third down. Rodgers kneeled for the next three plays to run out the clock.
When the Packers converted that third down to a first down, Tom Brady let his emotions be heard and seen on the sidelines. The NBC cameras caught Brady, a future Hall of Famer and winner of multiple Super Bowls, drop three to five “f –bombs” at himself, his teammates and anyone else who was around.
A year ago, Brady was so incensed in a loss that he approached a referee after the game and had a heated exchange. That one was also caught on camera.
The media responses to those two incidents were mostly positive. Some (commenters, analysts) said that Brady was upset and disgusted at the loss, which I’m sure he was. Some also explained his actions by saying that “he’s passionate” and “he’s showing his love for the game.”
The media response to those exchanges were pretty much positive. Some said that Brady was upset and disgusted at the loss. Some also excused him in saying that “he’s passionate” and “he’s showing his love for the game”.
Where were they last season when Dallas Cowboy wide receiver Dez Bryant was caught on the sideline have a bit of a tantrum in the waning moments of a team loss to the Detroit Lions? He was very animated: waving his hands, pacing up and down, and shouting at anyone who would listen. The video of his exchange with Tony Romo went viral. And, yes, the media jumped all over this as well. Except, Bryant didn’t get the same positive response that Brady’s outburst received.
What we heard was that “Bryant is a malcontent”. Or “Bryant again loses his composure”. NFL Media’s Brian Billick said “If I’m the coach of the Cowboys you have to get this under control”.
Really? Looks can be and were deceiving in this matter. After the audio of the video was finally listened to a day or so later, you would hear a frustrated but yet positive Bryant, giving his team mates encouragement and even giving his quarterback a pep talk on the bench. “We’re the best in the NFL on that…Tony we good on that!”
We heard that “Bryant is a malcontent” or “Bryant again loses his composure.” NFL.com’s Brian Billick, a former head coach, said, “If I’m the coach of the Cowboys you have to get this under control.”
Really? Looks can be and were deceiving in this matter. After the audio of the video was finally released a day or so later, we heard a frustrated-yet-positive Bryant encouraging his teammates and even giving his quarterback a pep talk on the bench. “We’re the best in the NFL on that…Tony we good on that!”
How can two athletes showing emotion on the sideline, have two very different reactions from the media?
How can police officers approach two different men on the street and in some instances one walks away unscathed, yet the other may lose his life?
Marinate on that.