By Kevin Flanagan
BSD Senior Staff Writer
In an effort to provide full disclosure, I – like WEEI’s pretentious and pompous, John Tomase – didn’t watch a snap of NFL football on Sunday or Monday. It’s not because I am some self-righteous phony who protests the fact that highly paid players are willing to sustain the equivalent of multiple car crashes for at least 16 weeks a year to make a very lucrative living, or that concussions have been revealed to be a very real threat to those who sign contracts that put them in danger of CTE.
It is because the product basically sucks, and I have one kid in college and another that just graduated, so I have no interest in wagering the equivalent of my future second mortgage payments, on league that becomes less interesting with each year that passes.
And I’m not alone; the ratings numbers clearly dictate that the NFL has a problem attracting the viewers they couldn’t turn away only three years ago, if they unleashed fire hoses spraying urine on anyone who was tuning into a league that seemed like would continue to attract eyeballs no matter how many Ray Rices beat their women unconscious in elevators, for the world to see.
That being said, the self-serving way that Tomase defends his defiance for not tuning into the self-proclaimed new American pastime in a post on ‘EEI this past Monday, is stomach turning. And the round-faced writer doesn’t exactly have the most track record, either.
Any Patriots fan the age of twenty-something or over, can recall his colossal swing and miss prior to the Pats first Super Bowl against the New York Giants in February of 2008. The Saturday before New England was playing for the first perfect season since the Miami Dolphins in 1972, Tomase ran a story in the Boston Herald, falsely accusing the Pats of videotaping the St. Louis Rams walk through practice prior to the franchise’s first championship in 2002.
Of course, the story garnered headlines across the country – where the team with the flying Elvis on the sides of their helmets had become enemy number one, after Spygate broke at the beginning of that year – and was still thought to be true, even though Tomase penned a retraction in May of ’08 in the tabloid.
Writing that he, “had repeatedly heard that this walk-through had been taped, and from people I trusted. Eventually, I accepted it as fact and stopped questioning the assertion,” though it seems few paid attention to his mea culpa then, or even now. In fact, it wasn’t until August of 2015, that the once World Wide Leader of Sports – the rapidly fading ESPN – issued a late night “apology,” for still referring to Tomase’s piece of fiction as truth.
In his first post with his new employer, WEEI on January 1, 2015; he once again raised his pudgy nose to those he was looking for page views from in his new gig. Explaining he wasn’t a fan – like you great unwashed out there, who don’t consider that a derogatory term – the calorie-pounding, self-proclaimed king of the keyboard gave us this gem.
“And the first thing you should know is I will not write from the perspective of my readers. This is not because I don’t love sports — I do. And it’s not because I consider myself above the masses, although come to think of it, if the footie pajamas fit …”
Come to think of it, John, I’m not sure I ever recall seeing footie pajamas in the husky section of any department store I have visited lately anyway.
Unlike Tomase, I have always loved football and still do. That being said, what the NFL has produced during the regular season lately, is not the game I grew up watching. For the same reason the NHL is starting to turn me away from most out of market games, so has Roger Goodell’s more restrictive, watered-down league.
I get it, in our overly litigious society now, things like ESPN’s “Jacked Up” feature that ran every Sunday night not even a decade ago, could not exist without parent company Walt Disney writing a dizzying large check for their legal bills.
And with the potential for lawsuits down the road, I understand why the NHL is trying to eliminate the big body checks and the fighting, that so many of their fans love about the sport.
That doesn’t mean I have to like it. Or watch it.
Having had the teams of Boston blended into my DNA since I can remember, there is zero chance that anytime soon, I will turn a blind eye to them. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean I can’t dislike the direction two of my favorite sports to watch are going, and the less I enjoy them because of it.
Unlike Tomase, I am a sports fan. I tune in for entertainment, and I am entertained by big hits on the football field, and real fights in hockey. And that is precisely why I have a passion to write about them.
In this day and age, every professional athlete knows the risks associated with the sports they draw a paycheck – and often times, a hefty one, at that – it is simply a hazard of the workplace.
The same way an iron worker risks his safety working on a skyscraper, or a policeman or fireman put their lives on the line everyday for their profession; so does every NFL or NHL player who straps on the pads or skates, although the rewards financially are much greater for the latter than the former.
John Tomase doesn’t have to write about sports, he has chosen to. Just the way any professional athlete doesn’t have to risk physical harm to him/herself, they chose to.
However, if you chose to be a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal, and enjoy the physicality of what by its nature is a violent sport, tool bag Tomase wants you to know he is better than you, just as he always has been.