Cleat Geeks

Somebody Please Shut The ‘-Gate’ Already

I am guessing, in fact surmising, that the terminology referencing any form of scandal under scrutiny as a ‘-gate’ originated with the Watergate Scandal of the Richard Nixon Presidency in the early 1970s.

For those of you way too young to know or too uninformed to care about US History, the ‘Watergate Scandal’ started with a botched burglary at the Democratic National Committee Headquarters office in the Watergate Hotel and Office Complex in Washington, DC. The incident and subsequent investigation by law enforcement and the media resulted in what became known as the Watergate Scandal and the only resignation by a US President in history.

The American Media, including the American Sports Media, is infamous for using the tag ‘-gate’ to label the latest and greatest scandal in our society, (Insert scandal name here)-gate.

In the sports world, there have been many scandals. One of the oldest and most publicized was the Black Sox Scandal of the 1919 World Series between the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Red-legs. A movie called Eight Men Out depicted this gambling scandal that allegedly involved eight White Sox players throwing the series to the Red-legs when bribed by Bookmakers. However, it was not ‘Black Sox-gate’ because it happened 50 years prior to the Watergate Scandal. You understand the example.

After the 1970s, there have been many scandals in sports, unfortunately. It would be great if the purity of sports were such that it was scandal proof, but I am afraid it has not been, is not currently, and shall never be scandal free.

The most current flare up in sports revolves around the New England Patriots of the National Football League, their Head Coach Bill Belichick, and Quarterback Tom Brady. The new scandal, Deflate-gate, calls into question the appropriate level of inflation for 11 of the 12 game balls used by the Patriots in the American Football Conference Championship game on January 18, 2015. The Patriots tamed the Indianapolis Colts 45-7. The Head Coach and the Quarterback have both denied any knowledge or participation in any plot to under-inflate or deflate the game balls for the slight advantage.

No one in their right mind who watched even a few moments of the game can believe that the under inflated footballs could or would create such a lop-sided victory in favor of the Patriots. So, the ‘Deflate-gate’ story is in no way an attempt at disqualifying New England from the Super Bowl, which they earned a trip to with the win. The cries are against the franchise, its Head Coach and its Quarterback. The questions are coming because this seems to be habitual behavior.

In 2007, the New England Patriots staff was accused of videotaping from a secret location the signals used by an opposing team during a game. The NFL investigated and fined the Head Coach, Bill Belichick, $500,000, the team $250,000, and they also had to forfeit a first-round pick in the 2008 NFL Player Draft. The scandal became known as ‘Spygate’.

The New England Patriots, the Coaches and Players are respected for the results they have put up for their play on the field. However, they seem to be equally despised for the less than scrupulous tactics used in game preparation. The investigation by the NFL is ongoing and new, at this point, but some form of serious penalty or violation should be forthcoming for the Head Coach and the Quarterback. Significant suspensions, if not bans, on top of fines must be on the table for discussion, in the very least.

The questions asked by the media, during separate press conferences, of the Head Coach, Bill Belichick, and the Quarterback, Tom Brady, may not be of the genius variety, but fact-finding questions are meant to do just that, fact find. The problem is that those speaking for the team are standing in front of the cameras and the sports world with a glazed over, ‘I don’t know what you are talking about Senator’ look on their faces.

They remind me of my days on the farm growing up. We would hang a new gate in the barn lot, stand back, and watch the cows inspect it. They were looking for a way out or another way around the new gate. Belichick and Brady remind me of two calves staring at a new ‘-gate’. Will somebody please shut the gate already, and put these two cheaters out to pasture.

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