If you’re anything like us, as soon as you heard about the accusations of cheating leveled against the Patriots NFL franchise, you were hit with an overwhelming sensation of “Meh.”
What’s more, we find it hard to justify the use of “gate” as a suffix in an attempt to trump up a news story regarding impropriety in even the most minor sense. When using “gate” to apply a humorous moniker to a story about malfeasance in the AFC Championship or faulty iPhone design, we disproportionately increase their importance, while at the same time belittle that of actual scandals that occur around the world.
The actual Watergate scandal, from which Deflategate and Bendgate derive their names, involves subterfuge and intrigue with implications several orders of magnitude beyond that of what the Patriots have caused.
Watergate involved the infiltration and wiretapping of a rival political party during a presidential election, the theft of documents critical to that election, and, when the burglary and wiretapping were discovered, the attempt on the part of president Nixon’s administration to cover up their involvement with the whole thing. Nixon’s defense of his actions, and the constituional crisis it caused, can be summed up in the now-infamous phrase,”Well, when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.”
Sure, many football fans might be a little disillusioned with the sport’s legitimacy, but there’s no way that the actions of anyone in the NFL can cause anyone to question the ability of our constitution to withstand a troubling time in our history.
We can sometimes find it hard to understand the sensationalism surrounding certain stories being allowed to eclipse other relevant events in the nation and the world. Everyone is allowed to have their own interests and follow events at their own speed, but we shouldn’t let our interest in the Patriots, a Kardashian or another royal baby keep us from paying attention to the full spectrum of events that shape our lives and the lives of those around us.