The New England Patriots had six players opt-out of the upcoming 2020 NFL season. Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston suggests that wouldn’t have happened if Tom Brady was still the quarterback of the team.
This take is a not-so-subtle slight toward Cam Newton, Jarrett Stidham, (whom he mentions rather dismissively in his answer) and perhaps even a swipe at the integrity of the six men who chose to opt-out.
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Tom Curran Says Patriots Players Wouldn’t Have Opted Out if Tom Brady Was There
There are several things to unpack from this take, but before I get into that, let’s take a listen to the segment which came from the Dan Patrick Show on Wednesday.
If Tom Brady was still with the Patriots, would this many players be opting out of the season? @TomECurran doesn't think so.
— Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) July 29, 2020
Let’s talk about why Curran’s take is audacious, presumptuous, and borderline insulting to many of the men involved.
Don’t Throw the Challenge Flag on this Play, Tom
Dont’a Hightower released a statement explaining his reasoning for sitting out the 2020 season. He mentioned his two-week-old son. Patrick Chung has a child on the way, another son with asthma, and he also mentioned his 75-year-old father as an obvious at-risk person in his life. Marcus Cannon is a cancer survivor which could put him in more danger if he were to be infected with the virus.
All of these men stated their reasons for opting out of the season, or the situation is self-explanatory in Cannon’s case. Thus it’s a bit strange to hear Curran suggesting that the mere presence of Brady, and what he believes would equate to a better chance at winning, would supersede the family and safety concerns the men have identified as their reasons for not playing in 2020.
Essentially, but without saying, Curran is either calling these men liars or at least suggesting they’re telling partial truths. Perhaps even worse, he is challenging their moral values.
Patrick Chung, whose opt-out became official today per league source, told “CBS This Morning”: “I wanted to play football. But when it comes down to it, I feel that money is not that important.” #Patriots
— Jim McBride (@globejimmcbride) July 29, 2020
If Curran believes each player is truly concerned with all of those things they mentioned (health, family, etc), but they would be willing to make the sacrifice for a chance to play with Brady again and win, that concept calls the priorities they shared into question.
Chung would be willing to risk his son and dad’s health if Brady was still there? Hightower would tell his fiancee, “I know our son is only two weeks old, but bae, it’s Tom Brady?”
Even if Curran is right, something seems wrong about making this sort of assumption about another adult’s decision on such a personal matter.
“With Jarrett Stidham, Cam Newton or Whatever We’re Trying to Do”
The quote in the subheadline speaks volumes.
The other side of this nasty coin comes up tails for Newton. If Curran is correct, Hightower, Chung, Cannon, Dan Vitale, Brandon Bolden, and others don’t believe Newton is capable of leading this team to the postseason or contending. Curran might be right, we won’t know for sure until Newton takes the field, which we all still have our fingers crossed as that is concerned.
However, for a veteran and accomplished player like Newton, there is only one way to take this opinion Curran has shared, and that’s as the latest example of disrespect. If Curran is right, the Patriots’ opt-out players saw the Newton signing, looked at Stidham, and said we might be headed for a down year.
Again, perhaps Curran is right and this will be a terrible season in Foxborough, but if I’m Newton, this is just another quote and hot take to place on my bulletin board. Quite honestly, I’m not sure if he has any more room.
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