There’s a growing theory in the NFL that not every player is treated equally.
Hear me out on this. Some people — like tight ends — hit harder, while others — like kickers — remain relatively unscathed for four quarters. It’s groundbreaking stuff, really.
So when J.R. Gamble published a story about Gronkowski’s recent cheap shot against the Bills on Sunday, I brushed it off as just another addition to the white noise that so markedly defines the NFL in 2017.
But Gamble’s piece, “Rob Gronkowski Is Sheltered By The Privilege Of ‘Gronk Being Gronk,'” goes much further than the characteristic “the NFL is too tough” diatribes we hear daily. He argues that the entire NFL — a nearly 70 percent black league — is a mosaic of white privilege. And Gronk is the poster child.
Most people saw tight end Rob Gronkowski’s controversial hit live on Sunday. Yes, it was a cheap shot. There’s no denying that.
Is gronk going too ham? #patriots #bills #NEvsBUF #RobGronkowski #Gronk #Gronkowski #GronkHit #GronkowskiHit #nfl #nflhits #football #footballhits #footballsunday #buffalobills #newenglandpatriots pic.twitter.com/H0o9LDmFnO
— (@aFewAmigos) December 3, 2017
He even admitted it and offered what looked to be a sincere apology to Tre’Davious White.
Rob Gronkowski apologizes for his late hit on @TreWhite16.
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) December 3, 2017
But J.R. Gamble, like so many other angry NFL onlookers, isn’t satisfied. They want to see tougher punishments and destroyed careers. They want vengeance.
“I guess because he isn’t African-American, words such as ‘thug,’ ‘cheapshot artist,’ ‘sore loser’ and ‘animal’ don’t apply to a guy who catches touchdowns for Tom Brady and didn’t grow up in the hood,” Gamble writes.
Gronk never brought race into this. Neither did the Patriots or the Bills. It’s patronizing, condescending, and inherently flawed logic.
“Gronk is in a safe zone because as a white player, his actions don’t fit the narrative of the NFL being a bunch of out of control African-American players who don’t appreciate their country or the opportunity to play sports… Privilege. There’s no other way to explain it,” Gamble continues.
Privilege? You might have to apply that same logic to Aqib Talib and Michael Crabtree, who were only suspended for one game after getting into a fistfight over jewelry. Gronk was held to the exact same standard as both of them.
Broncos and Raiders fight inspired by Aqib Talib and Michael Crabtree pic.twitter.com/I0rcqi5pIm
— Nick Bromberg (@NickBromberg) November 26, 2017
The fact of the matter is, NFL players act up all the time. They’re praised for their aggression on the field and find it hard to turn off as soon as the whistle blows. This won’t be the last time a brawl breaks out or a cheap shot happens. But blaming this on white privilege is a remedial, race-baiting approach only Colin Kaepernick could be proud of.