Nine is Greater than Two Times Four

So is that why the ninth commandment matters more for Tom Brady fans than the fourth commandment, you know, the one about keeping the Lord’s Day holy?

I’m writing this not as a BradyHater™, but as a full-on fanboy. You are my favorite sportsman ever — in any game, from any era. And I’ll tell you why. Your exceptional talent on the field is only matched by your exceptional work ethic. I love the way you command your teammates’ respect. And one thing I’ve always respected about you, up until now, is the leadership you’ve shown at the podiums and in front of the press. Unlike a lot of athletes of your stature, when things haven’t gone well on the field, you take responsibility. You don’t shift the blame to anybody else. And when you succeed, as you often do, you share the credit. This kind of leadership maturity is as rare as your talent.

So here’s the deal: I think you ought to do the right thing here and own up to wanting those footballs under-inflated, pressuring your equipment guys to handle that for you, and now insisting that you don’t know what anybody’s talking about. I think what you lose by doing that is much less than what you lose by not. And in any event, whatever is gained or lost, it’s just the right thing to do.

You and I both know that won’t win you any new fans. Your loyal opposition will always oppose you. But your fans will forgive you. Heck, I already do. I promise you — I already do forgive you. But I couldn’t root for you the same way, couldn’t talk you up to my grandkids like I planned to, couldn’t celebrate your championships as I have before, if you don’t do what real men do, which is take responsibility.

Tom, your reputation among many probably cannot be repaired, no matter what you do. I hate that for you. That’s just life, I guess. But I don’t believe “Deflategate” will tarnish your legacy in the eyes of fans like me if you’ll be brave enough to just get transparent with us. Confession of this kind won’t be the worst thing that happens to you in life, even though I’m sure it might feel that way at the moment.

Imagine what Brady’s legacy would be in old New England where out-of-wedlock sex, illegitimate children, and working on Sunday could get you executed.

Love the Puritans, hate the Patriots.

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33 thoughts on “Nine is Greater than Two Times Four

  1. I could say all of this and more about Roger Federer (who I’m pretty sure never messes with his balls one way or another). He also wouldn’t have fared well in old New England or Geneva for similar reasons. But if pining for character is the point, can we all put a lid on the unbecoming public display of man crushing, as well as any notion that superstars even read the gushing blog posts of the openly pious?

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  2. Nor Lance Armstrong, nor Tiger Woods. Talk is cheap, but once these guys are finally forced into ‘fessing up many of their so-called loyal fans, and most certainly their sponsors, leave little more than a trail of dust in their wake. Such is life in the lime light; live it carefully and candidly or else your head will likely be next on the chopping block. OTOH, there are those who like to wear scripture verses on their eye black and bow and make church steeple-like gestures when they win, though they too are seen through different colored lenses by those who follow the commandments.

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  3. This is what it’s come to as sin takes America with a vice-grip: covetousness rears its ugly head as losers and ugly people prepare to execute a four time Super Bowl winner with the best cleft chin since Kirk Douglas. “Strange days have found us / Strange days have tracked us down.” – The Doors

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  4. In the end, it’s all about having the right paradigm:

    What has been driving all this, of course, is something deeper than the New England Patriots, and even deeper than football and politics. The incredible heat of the vitriol is a matter of identity, how people think about faith and trust, about following the rules or not. It is about frames of fairness and opportunity. It is about believing in “our own” and not believing outsiders. It is about how we feel about those at the top, and where we are in relation to them. It’s projecting our sense of superiority or resentment on the world, to feel we are among the entitled or the trolls, the winners or, unfairly, on the losing side in life.

    In other words, when we make hard passionate judgments about faith or politics or sports or life based on scant evidence, when we ignore inconvenient facts, when we attach and stubbornly cling to old narratives even though there is ample good evidence against them, when we deny legitimacy to opposing views, when we are outraged by the trivial, it tells us a lot more about ourselves than it does about the events or personalities at hand.

    Deflategate is just the latest example. It isn’t really about the Patriots, or Bill Belichik, or Tom Brady. It’s about us. Deflategate is a Rorschach test revealing something else in our collective psyche, the destructive and very real current of resentment, cynicism, and distrust that runs through this country, deeper than ever, not just in our politics, but in our churches, workplaces, and communities — even in the frivolous games we play and watch on Sundays that are supposed to give us some escape, some relief, from it all.

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  5. DGH, I’d be glad to tweet that middle paragraph but it’s too complex. If you can cut back on the letters and make it specifically about some jerk we’d all like to take down it would be more useful.

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  6. D. G. Hart
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 8:03 am | Permalink
    In the end, it’s all about having the right paradigm

    Isn’t it always (sigh).

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  7. What I find fascinating about that post is that it really is a perpetuation of celebrity that’s so indicative of TGC.

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  8. Recently, in an “evangelical franchise” I was visiting, one which boasts in two “”sacraments” and two Sunday services” for the sake of “honoring the first day Sabbath”, we were informed that God was not only fair but gracious to those who refuse God’s offer of love, since Christ had already paid for all the sins of those who reject the proposal. Should we perhaps be offended when the “sovereignty of God” gets deflated to mean that God stays in control of a “gracious” plan in which salvation depends on the sinner?

    “To merely present a God who is willing to be reconciled to sinners is a wretched and wicked perversion of the Gospel. For Christ to make perfect reconciliation it was required that He should turn away the wrath of God from His people by removing their sin from before His face by means of a propitiatory sacrifice, as also that we should be brought by the Holy Spirit to turn away from our opposition to God’s gospel and brought into submission to the Truth. ” A W

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  9. I’m a big fat stinking sinner, so I can’t throw stones at you. I’ve done much worse than game the system to gain an advantage. But when I realized trying to protect my image was an ultimately devastating strategy, I embraced the forgiveness I’ve found in God, who through Jesus Christ forgave all my sin (1 John 1:9) and — get this — doesn’t even remember it any more (Isaiah 43:25). There’s real freedom in that light.

    The way evangelicals self-righteously declare that God doesn’t remember their own sins regardless of how many lives they destroy is one of the bigger obstacles for my acquaintances in considering Christ. Of course I don’t know whether the article had the same attitude in its appeal to the athlete’s conscience, or why it had to follow Deflategate with a gospel reminder, or why it had to be written at all, but I don’t want to be uncharitable.

    The pervasiveness of the language about God not remembering sin is just confusing when Biblical histories and genealogies are replete with it. Maybe I need to get with TGC’s Brogram.

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  10. When you are summoned to Friday prayers hasten to the remembrance of Allah and cease your trading. That would be best for you, if you but knew it. Then, when the prayers are ended, disperse and go your way in quest of Allah’s bounty. Remember Allah always so that you may prosper. (Sura 62:9).

    You have heard of those of you that broke the Sabbath. We said to them: ‘You shall be changed into detested apes’ (Sura 2:66).

    the law says
    1. when we sin we think we are hiding from God, behind God’s back
    2. when we don’t confess our sin, we think we are hiding from God, in the darkness we love, instead of the light

    the gospel says
    God hides the sins of the justified elect behind His back

    Isaiah 38: 17 Indeed it was for my own peace
    That I had great bitterness;
    But You have lovingly delivered me from the pit of corruption,
    FOR YOU HAVE PUT ALL MY SINS BEHIND YOUR BACK

    Isaiah 43: 25 “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake,
    And I will not remember your sins

    Hebrews 8: 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds[ I will remember no more.

    Hebrews 10: 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. 15 But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; because the Spirit said before, 6 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” 17 then He adds,“Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

    Job 14: 10–But man dies and is laid away;
    Indeed he breathes his last
    And where is he?
    11 As water disappears from the sea,
    And a river becomes parched and dries up,
    12 So man lies down and does not rise.
    Till the heavens are no more,
    They will not awake
    Nor be roused from their sleep.
    13 “Oh, that You would hide me in the grave,
    That You would conceal me until Your wrath is past,
    That You would appoint me a set time, and remember me!
    14 If a man dies, shall he live again?
    All the days of my hard service I will wait,
    Till my change comes.
    15 You shall call, and I will answer You;
    You shall desire the work of Your hands.
    16 For now You number my steps,
    But do not watch over my sin.
    17 My transgression is sealed up in a bag,
    And You cover my iniquity.

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  11. mcMark, I can’t recall ever reading the القرآن الكريم before, that’s interesting, juxtaposed with the Bible.

    I think you meant Sura 2:65, per my online Quran.

    Thanks.

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  12. Mark, I think there’s a distinction between the biblical language and a common evangelical understanding where you do whatever you feel like doing and/or need to do to get ahead because that’s life or youth. Then once you’re done, and especially if you’re millionaire / celebrity, play the Jesus card, get a wife, settle in the burbs, go to some church, produce 2.1 offspring, and get really indignant when someone asks about last year’s coke and whores or the kids you abandoned because God doesn’t remember any of that or them.

    I don’t think that pietism is the solution to evangelical flippancy, as if anyone can measure whether someone else has had sufficiently great bitterness to get to the back half of Isaiah 38:17. And I’m not sure whether I’d find anything less than Walter Marshall or the Marrow adequate here, so perhaps my criticism is ultimately fruitless. Still, presenting Jesus as a golden parachute is deeply troubling.

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  13. Let’s say you hear the Pats may be tampering with game balls, What do you do? If you care about fair games and the well-being of your sport you tell the Pats about the rumor and tell them you’ll be testing footballs at their next game. So the game balls are then regulation for the next game and you avoid a scandal over small potatoes.

    But what Goodell do? He said nothing to the Pats and collaborated with another team in a kind of sting operation. He then let everyone know about it with the Super Bowl on the horizon – not a good time to get all the facts in the open. In the process one of the NFL’s greats ends up being damaged goods. And then the punishment bears less a relationship to the crime than to Goodell’s reputation.

    Whatever you think of Brady, Goodell has bungled and damaged the product under his care.

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  14. This is where I’d something about Tim Tebow’s balls and how pious they would be if they ever got into a game again. But I can’t come up with anything. About Tebow’s piously-inflated evangelical balls. And them not ever getting in another game. Etc.

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  15. Muddy, I’m no Goodell fan, neither am I much of a Pats’ fan — Spygate and all that destroyed tape.

    But Goodell and Kraft, the owner of NEP, are supposed to be good friends, even some worries that Kraft has had too much influence. So why would Goodell do this?

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  16. Darryl maybe he’s just not good situations that are outside of the box. Good at business, bad at discipline.

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  17. Bob, to add to your links, here’s a good piece by Trueman from the days surrounding the SuperBowl, his thoughts on such things, a sample if you desire:

    If Pascal’s analysis of the human condition is correct, sport is a distraction from the unbearable truths of our own existence: our mortality, our finitude, our accountability. It does not deal with humanity’s deepest existential problems. It simply helps us pretend they are not there. That is why there is so much money involved: We think it is worth the investment to pay a sports hero more than, say, the President, because the former does a more important job. To quote Pascal himself: “Being unable to cure death, wretchedness and ignorance, men have decided, in order to be happy, not to think about such things. Despite these afflictions, man wants to be happy, only wants to be happy, and cannot help wanting to be happy.But how shall he go about it? The best thing would be to make himself immortal, but as he cannot do that, he has decided to stop himself thinking about it.” That is where trivial distractions become significant.

    When people prioritize sport and entertainment above all things, they do not replace one religion with another. They are merely finding creative ways of ignoring the realities which Christianity, and indeed our own awareness of our coming death, press upon us.

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  18. Lou Dobbs gets it:

    Roger Goodell is now leading the NFL from behind, trying to preserve his job at all costs. Whether to the truth, to proportionality, to fairness and balance, or further immense cost to the NFL itself. Coercive leadership without regard to consequence, wielding power without regard for facts and truth is far more consistent with the authoritarian tone and style. That seems to have become the preferred style of liberal Washington. And I think this time Goodell has provoked a public relations battle, a legal battle that he will lose. And in losing those battles, he may well lose his job. Appropriately, in my opinion.

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  19. Muddy, step away from the ledge. You’re sounding like vd, t. When the Pats are wrong, blame the NFL.

    I’m no fan of Goodell. But Brady isn’t infallible.

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  20. Standing by their graduate:

    Junipero Serra High School was founded in 1944. Run by diocesan priests of San Francisco, the school’s core mission is developing young men of “faith, wisdom, service, community, and leadership.’’ The building where Tommy Brady (that’s what they call him here) matriculated was built in 1952 and hasn’t changed much since Brady graduated 20 years ago.

    The students and staff at Serra are much like folks back in New England: They believe in Brady.

    “I support Tom through this tough time,’’ says Serra athletic director Dean Ayoob, who was a senior at Serra when Tommy was a freshman.

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  21. DGH, guess who’s going to hear the appeal from Goodell’s decision? Goodell. Seems legit.

    A quarter of the season and two draft picks for a fraction of a pound of PSI? Seems legit.

    Think fair procedures and the punishment fitting the alleged crime.

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  22. muddy, think spy gate, think friendship with Kraft, think microaggression. The NFL needs to avoid looking like it plays favorites.

    It will be appealed. Brady will be suspended for 2 games (he has been uncooperative according to the Union’s agreement and likely lied). He’ll be back in time to beat the Cowboys. Everything will be fine.

    But you don’t wonder what else the Pats will do to bend the rules?

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  23. DGH, normally your parking ticket from last week would be $25. But because you got a speeding ticket in 2007 they’re going to impound you car and suspend you from teaching. If you appeal MVDM hears the case.

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  24. Roger Goodell and Tom Brady are scheduled to meet Wednesday for a mediation session in federal court in Manhattan.

    Brady should take the opportunity to make the first settlement offer: a zero-game suspension, no fine, full exoneration and a public apology from the commissioner for completely misrepresenting Brady’s under oath testimony and then somehow using it to declare Brady untrustworthy.

    …Even if you suspect Brady is as guilty as sin there is no denying the NFL had a profoundly weak case here.

    The proof is that the NFL felt compelled to state Brady said the exact opposite of what he actually said, not correct false media stories, hire a non-independent/independent investigator, ignore overwhelming scientific conclusions and even change the verdict after the verdict was rendered – in May, the NFL claimed it was “more probable than not” that Brady was “generally aware” of the deflation; in the July appeal decision, Goodell significantly upped that and despite a lack of additional evidence suddenly claimed Brady “approved of, consented to, and provided inducements and rewards in support of a scheme.”

    …Only, eventually, because Brady has kept fighting, the cracks have become impossible to ignore. His appeal was a goldmine. Goodell brazenly misrepresenting testimony? A verdict being rewritten? False, anti-Brady stories still mysteriously finding their way to publication?

    If a settlement is reached, if Brady, for the good of the Patriots’ season, agrees to a game or two suspension, then this grinds to a conclusion and additional information may never emerge.
    So here’s hoping Tom Brady does no mediating on Wednesday.

    Here’s hoping he takes a hard line, takes it to the wall, takes it to federal court and then a civil one via a defamation charge, because no matter where you stand on guilt or innocence, after all these months, we’re finally getting to the real stuff.

    We’re finally getting to the good stuff.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/brady-vs–goodell-hits-new-battleground–but-theme-remains–nfl-isn-t-fighting-fair–062446546.html

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  25. Muddy, but is this the way to prepare for court? Curt Schilling may have had it right — Brady doesn’t want Giselle knowing what’s on the phone.

    First you defend Daleiden, now Brady. Liberal.

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  26. Truth be told, I was relieved when Tom busted up his phone. To date, no one know my role in all this. Other than Giselle.

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  27. MG: [spit take… ooooooooooooooooooooof]

    The Commish has magic powers to make decisions based on whatever grounds real or imagined he deems as essential for “the good of the game.” Sometimes this can leak over into the courts, but I don’t see this as one where the Commish should be leapfrogged.

    Tom has not come clean on his role in this at all and for this behaviour he should sit out 2 games.

    Some say the cover up is worse than the crime, which is total nonsense.

    But what is true is that the cover up can add to a new dimension of investigation that results in possible obstruction or perjury convictions for those who did not know or benefit about a crime that may not have even happened in the first place (see Stewart, Martha and Nixon, Richard M.) Which would really suck.

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  28. There are substantial limitations on what issues are appealable to a court but I’m hearing that one of them is that Brady was never actually required to give over his phone (and there is no such requirement in the CBA) then was sanctioned for his failure to do so. IDK since I haven’t really tried to sort it all out.

    But I can’t overcome the conviction that Goodell has bungled this badly and his only cause is Roger Goodell. And, as I said above, his prime objective should be to protect the game. The way he has handled this has not been good for the game.

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  29. I don’t care about the air, serves the NFL right for letting everyone do what he wants with their footballs. And the cellphone is a red herring, no blame for him there.

    But he hasn’t told the truth when given many opportunities to do so. And that does matter in this situation. The Black Sox and Pete Rose walked from the courts but the Commish can do what he likes under other balances…

    And a Commish being less than adequate or competent or bungling key decisions? Let me sit down first before trying to absorb that concept….

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