It has been a banner week for the Patriots. Fans hope an actual new championship banner will be hung at Gillette Stadium in the very near future following the additions the Patriots have made this past week.
Hey, times are exciting. The Patriots landed the best cornerback in the NFL. Heck, Darrelle Revis may be the best cornerback the NFL has seen since the days of Deion Sanders. And now he will be suiting up for the New England Patriots this coming season. That's great news for a team whose biggest weakness for the better part of a decade has been their pass defense.
If that wasn't good enough, the Patriots also signed a 6'4", 220 pound cornerback who has the reputation of being a down and dirty, physical defender. Brandon Browner is not one of these tiny little defensive backs we've been accustomed to seeing the last few years.
So now the Patriots have, on paper, one of the best secondaries in football. Fans and the media around these parts are elated. So why do I have a queasy feeling?
I know exactly why it is. Sports fans are hypocrites. In recent years, New England sports fans have turned ugly on perceived "traitors."
How dare Wes Welker leave Tom Brady and the Patriots to go catch passes for Peyton Manning with the Denver Broncos? Traitor.
Jacoby Ellsbury signed with the New York Yankees? Turncoat.
Ray Allen deserts the Big Three in Boston to go play with LeBron and the Miami Heat? Judas.
Yet here we are embracing Darrelle Revis. Revis played his first six years with the hated New York Jets. This is the player that, in 2012, called his now head coach Bill Belichick "ignorant" and a "jerk."
That's OK. He's on our team now.
How is that any different from what Welker, Ellsbury, Allen, or, going further back, Johnny Damon did? Oh, I get it-- so it is OK for our team to sign a rival's best player, but it is not OK for our player to go to a rival.
Let's look at Browner. He played for Seattle the last three years. You remember Seattle, right? They won the Super Bowl last season. Their secondary has the reputation of being one of the biggest, best, and most physical in the NFL. They also have been accused of rampant performance enhancement drug abuse. How many times did I hear people ridicule Seattle as a bunch of dopers?
Browner was at the center of Seattle's problems. Browner will not be able to play for the Patriots for the first four games of the 2014 season due to a suspension for PED use. He was suspended for the final two games of the 2013 season and stood on the sidelines as the Seahawks marched their way to a Super Bowl championship.
In 2012, Browner was also suspended for four games for- you guessed it - PED use. In 2005, Browner's first year in the league, he failed a drug test with the Denver Broncos. You get the picture.
But, hey, he plays for us now.
Sorry, but this doesn't sit well with me. I am, admittedly, old school. If I've been trained to root against someone, I'm not going to change. I know trades happen. Free agents get signed. Players change teams more than ever. Over the years I've accepted this new reality.
But I will never be a hypocrite. That's not who I am. I will always have a problem accepting the likes of Revis and Browner as my own.
Would Red Sox fans embrace Alex Rodriguez if he still had something left in the tank and got traded to Boston? LeBron James can opt out of his contract at the end of this year. Would you root for him if he signed with the Celtics after years of ridiculing him? If somehow Ben Roethlisberger became the Patriots' quarterback, should I be obligated to root for him?
No, thank you. I felt the same way when the Patriots signed Albert Haynesworth. I want to win the right away. I want a team with players I can root for and rally behind. I am no goody two shoes, but I have some standards. I like my players to be intense and play with an edge, but that doesn't mean I like to see them carrying guns into clubs.
It is why I shed no tears when I see the news that Brandon Spikes signed with Buffalo. Good riddance.
And now there is news that troubled wide receiver Kenny Britt may be visiting Foxboro. Are there no other options?
There has to be a happy medium. Great sports stories revolve around great rivalries. David Ortiz should never play for the Yankees. Peyton Manning should never play for the Patriots. Kobe Bryant should never play for the Celtics.
It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth-- one that could be washed away with a Super Bowl championship. Did I just write that? Maybe I am a hypocrite after all.