Sportress of Blogitude

Boston Globe publishes article entitled, ‘What can I tell my kids about Deflategate?’


Granted, folks in the Greater New England region are reeling quite a bit more than others living in other parts of the country in light of the New England Patriots becoming embarrassingly embroiled in the “DeflateGate” controversy.

It’s not surprising, then, that after taking the pulse of the region, The Boston Globe tried to provide a valuable service to its primary readership in light of the scandal, given that it’s a good chance that the average reader of paper may in fact be a Patriots fan in some capacity.

But to others, the fact that the Globe actually published an article entitled, “What can I tell my kids about Deflategate?” may come across as a bit peculiar and perhaps even somewhat alarmist.

Written by Jeff Wagenheim and Katharine Whittemore, founding editors of parenting magazine “Wondertime,” penned the article. It’s noted that Wagenheim is a Giants fan and insists that he’s neutral on the “DeflateGate” controversy.

Some excerpts from the article, in which the two point out that Patriots fans — and perhaps NFL fans in general — who are parents must “once again have to be ethicists.”

“Before you build a bonfire in the backyard and toss in your family’s Tom Brady jerseys and Bill Belichick hoodies, consider how lucky you are to not be dealing with this parental quandary in a vacuum”

“The Patriots’ checkered past can serve as a cautionary tale. Whenever I’ve caught my kids cheating at something, I’ve told them, “That’s not a reputation you want to have. People will assume the worst.” Look what happened to the Pats in their first playoff game, a week before this controversy arose over deflated footballs: Baltimore coach John Harbaugh also accused them of playing fast and loose with the rules. Without going into the intricacies of the X’s and O’s involved, I’ll just note that Belichick was designing plays that were within the rules but unlike anything the NFL had seen. So he was being an innovator, not a cheater. But because of his reputation, red flags were raised. There’s a lesson in that for kids. Once you’re labeled a cheat, everything you do becomes scrutinized, not always fairly.”

“Deflategate brings up so many teachable moments. Kids need to know that no organization is pure, for instance. According to the New York Post, the other Super Bowl team, the Seahawks, leads the league in performance-enhancing drug suspensions. And it’s important to emphasize that people (or teams) shouldn’t be defined by their worst actions. The Barry Bonds Family Foundation helps fund outreach programs for African-American youth in San Francisco. Nixon opened China. But let’s not be patsies about the Pats: If they cheated, they must be held accountable. Any other scenario is just too deflating.”

It’s possible that parents will be faced with tough questions from their kids about “DeflateGate,” and this article will be of great service to them. But in the grand scheme of things, if the toughest conversation a parent has to have with his or her children revolves around whether or not the Patriots may have under-inflated footballs, well, things can’t be going all that bad for that particular familial unit.

It also speaks to the considerable influence the NFL as a whole has on on the American Experience. When articles are being written about how to talk to kids about a league cheating scandal, forget about ratings, television contracts and whatnot: There is no doubt whatsoever that the NFL is king.

[reddit, image credit: Aram Boghosian for the Boston Globe]