Seattle’s Richard Sherman and Jets players Sheldon Richardson and Nick Mangold are keeping the Patriots’ bulletin board fully stocked. (M McKeon/GettyImages)
PHOENIX – The Seahawks wasted no time calling out the Patriots, as at their first availability in Arizona, Richard Sherman called out Robert Kraft when it comes to the Patriots’ possible discipline for Delfategate.
“Will they be punished? Probably not,” Sherman said. “Not as long as Robert Kraft and Roger Goodell are still taking pictures at their respective homes. I think it was just at Kraft’s house last week before the AFC championship, you know. Talk about conflict of interest.”
PHOENIX — Consider Sheldon Richardson and Nick Mangold skeptics when it comes to the Patriots’ claim of innocence in Deflategate.
“That’s the Patriots,” Richardson, the Jets’ opinionated defensive tackle, said Sunday night after making his first Pro Bowl appearance. “I’m not surprised at all. If they ain’t winning with controversy, they ain’t winning. …
“It’s funny when they say, ‘We keep it professional and clean cut,’ ‘’ Richardson said of the Jets’ bitter rival while standing in the [Pro Bowl] locker room at University of Phoenix Stadium. “Because they don’t. They don’t at all.”
Mangold echoed Richardson’s skepticism of the claim by Bill Belichick and Tom Brady that they had nothing to do with all 12 of their footballs reportedly being deflated — 11 by at least 2 pounds per square inch (psi) — in last week’s 45-7 AFC title game rout of the Colts.
“All 12 of [the Patriots’] balls having something wrong with them does tell you something is amiss,” Mangold said. … “It does seem like it’s always something with the Patriots. It does seem that way.”
Richard Sherman is smart enough to have gone to Stanford. Nick Mangold is a bright, articulate guy. Sheldon Richardson is … also a person. So I could point out the obvious to them. I could mention that Sherman’s team has basically been the Cheattle Cheathawks over Peter Carroll’s tenure, leading the NFL in drug suspensions and getting fined $300,000 for holding illegal practices. I could ask Mangold what else has been “amiss” over the years besides pointing a camera at the Jets sidelines from somewhere other than the approved camera-pointing area back when he was in high school. Or take a swipe at Richardson by mentioning if the Jets ain’t going 4-12 with controversy, they ain’t going 4-12.
But I won’t resort to such cheap shots. With these educated men, I’m going to take the high road. I’m going to respond with an appeal to their intellect befitting such learned, erudite gentlemen.
Allow me to refer to Gustave Le Bon’s 1895 tome “The Crowd: A Study Of The Popular Mind.” It is a treatise on how to influence the masses with propaganda in order to sway public sentiment to your every whim. Le Bon’s work was a huge influence on facist buttinskis from Hitler to Stalin and everyone in between. I quote:
“It was Napoleon, I believe, who said that there is only one figure in rhetoric of serious importance, repetition. The thing affirmed comes by repetition to fix itself in the mind in such a way that it is accepted as a demonstrated truth.
“The influence of repetition on crowds is comprehensible when the power is seen which it exercises on most enlightened minds. This power is due to the fact that the repeated statement is embedded in the long run in those profound regions of our unconscious selves in which the motives of our actions are forged. … When we have read a hundred, a thousand, times that X’s chocolate is the best, we imagine we have heard it said in many quarters, and we end by acquiring the certitude that such is the fact.”
Thus, the Patriots are cheaters. Why? Because we keep hearing they are cheaters. Michael Wilbon says they’ve been caught “repeatedly.” Jerome Bettis calls them “felons.” Albert Breer uses the word “pattern.” Sports Illustrated posts a crazy, incoherent screed that sounds like something out of Infowars about the giant TV outside Gillette Stadium and jammed helmet radios. And all of it is accepted truth by the naive sheeple ready to accept the lie rather than look at the truth.
It’s groupthink. An explanation for why one team is so much more successful than all the others that’s way easier for the great unwashed mob to digest than the truth, which is the Patriots scout, draft, manage, game-plan, practice, coach and play better than other teams. But guys like Sherman, Richardson, Mangold and the media are way too ready to lap up the snake oil they’re selling to each other than face the facts.
Not that I’m mad. Anything that fuels the Patriots’ fire heading into the game Sunday if fine by me. Keep the lies coming.