Sunday, February 3, 2019

White Jerseys, Red Hats

The Big Game is today, and Daily Beast's Corbin Smith argues that there's no other team in the NFL that represents white MAGA resentment quite like the New England Patriots, representing a city full of white resentment whose fans want to go back to when America was "great".

This past weekend, the Super Bowl-bound New England Patriots held a rally for their sweatiest fans at Gillette Stadium. Brady gave a speech. It ended… unnervingly.

WE’RE STILL HERE! WE’RE STILL HERE! Obviously, Brady is referring to his aging, decrepit, cheating-ass squad’s progressionto the big game. But, imagine you didn’t know anything about football, or who Tom Brady was, or anything like that. You would think that you were watching some square-jawed grifter throwing red meat to the hogs at an alt-right rally, screaming at the libs who thought Nancy Pelosi and her gender warriors were gonna keep DECENT AMERICAN FOLKS from BEING HERE.

Of course, even if you do know stuff about Brady you may still think he’s on his way to pursuing this line of grifting. He flashed a red MAGA hat, an accoutrement that is gaining more and more traction as a symbol of white nationalism in America, in his locker back in the primary days. He wasn’t the only one! Patriots’ Coach Bill Belichick wrote a goddamn letter to Trump right before the end of the campaign that basically amounted to an endorsement, that Trump then read on stage. And Pats’ owner Robert Kraft is also his pal, and was even shouted out at Trump’s pre-Inauguration dinner in D.C. for his most deep-pocketed donors.

The whole institution of Boston sports, from root to stem, is tinged with the sort of racism that brought Trump into office. The Boston Red Sox were the last MLB team to desegregate, more than a decade after Jackie Robinson entered the league. The Sox’s first owner, Tom Yawkey, was an infamous racist whose speech was peppered with racial slurs. Larry Bird became a symbol of white resentment during his time in the NBA, his jersey appearing as a symbol of white entitlement to black spaces in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing. His large teammate, Kevin McHale, was spotted at a Trump rally during the election.

And hey, it’s not like their fans are cool guys, either! Dave Portnoy, the founder of Barstool Sports, a toxic masculinity-humping outpost for the world’s worst people, is a Boston sports fan. A Red Sox fan yelled a racial slur and threw a bag of peanuts at Adam Jones a mere two seasons ago. Yankees’ pitcher CC Sabathia told ESPN, “I’ve never been called the N-word” anywhere but in Boston.

Bill Russell, the legendary Celtics center and 11-Time NBA champion, the greatest Boston athlete of all time by a considerable margin, called Boston a “Flea Market of racism” in his wonderful memoir Second Wind. “It had all varieties, old and new, and in their most virulent form. The city had corrupt, city hall-crony racists, brick-throwing, send-‘em-back-to-Africa racists, and in the university areas phony radical-chic racists… Other than that, I liked the city.”

I've never forgiven Brady and the Pats for beating my Carolina Panthers 15 years ago, and yeah, whether you like the Pats or not, Tom Brady is the best QB in the NFL and arguably the best player to ever have taken an NFL snap.

Having said that, the Pats are definitely Team MAGA, and a lot of their fans are perfectly okay with that.

Go Rams.

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