Editorial: Robert Kraft charges no reason for celebration
It always comes down to us versus them, and it’s getting exhausting.
The New England Patriots are the team that everyone south of Connecticut and west of Vermont loves to hate. Come from another NFL powerhouse location — like, say, Pittsburgh — and the animosity doubles.
It’s easy to say that there was some wailing and gnashing of teeth after the Super Bowl earlier this month, when Tom Brady and the Patriots gained the right to breathe the rarefied air of a six-time championship team, high on the mountaintop where the Steelers have been alone for years.
And that’s part of what made the story of Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s solicitation of prostitution charges in Jupiter, Fla., such chum for the gleeful masses.
If there is anything that makes us feel better about licking our own wounds, it’s watching an enemy get cut deeper. Winning a Lombardi trophy balanced out by a humiliatingly public incident involving videotaped sex acts in a “day spa?” Yeah, that can be satisfying.
What it is soothing is something ugly inside us. Kraft might be worth $6.6 billion, but he’s still a 77-year-old widower who lost his wife of 48 years to cancer in 2011. Nothing about his legal troubles — which are misdemeanors no one would care about if he didn’t own an NFL team — makes anyone’s life better.
It didn’t get Le’Veon Bell to training camp or make Antonio Brown want to keep his job or roll back the hands of time to get the Steelers in the playoffs. Pittsburgh’s record for the season didn’t change. The Patriots still got another ring.
The feverish interest in the case is not surprising. It is a symptom of a kind of Christians- versus-lions syndrome we have developed around the things we love and hate.
It’s not just sports. It’s not just politics. We can rarely mourn a tragedy without assigning blame to a faction we despise. We cannot accord honors without searching for tarnish on a halo.
It is the law of physics as applied to public spectacle. For every action, there is an equal and opposite backlash.