There's no denying the likability that New England Patriots' tight end Rob Gronkowski possesses. When he scores and "Gronks" in celebration, it's tough to say who is happier, the fans or the mega-talented two-year pro.
The Patriots organization is undoubtedly more than happy with his production as well, but the team cannot be content with Gronkowski's increasingly inappropriate behavior outside of Gillette stadium.
The 22-year-old still has a lot of learning, not to mention maturing, to do. Here are just a few of his PR mishaps.
Gronkowski ruffled many a feather by seemingly celebrating after the Patriots' Super Bowl loss in February. Many former New England greats, Rodney Harrison and Tedy Bruschi included, weighed in on his oddly jovial attitude.
“I guarantee you this, if Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi, Larry Izzo, Richard Seymour or myself had been at that party, [Gronkowski] probably would have got his head rung,” Harrison said in an interview with ESPN. “There’s no reason for that to happen.”
It was Gronkowski's perceived indifference to the outcome of the biggest game of the year that rubbed Harrison the wrong way.
"Someone has to pull [Gronkowski] to the side and say, 'Look young man, this is inappropriate, this is not the time nor the place. You need to grow up,'" Harrison said. "And that's what it comes down to. I like this kid. I think he's a good kid, works hard, is unselfish. But he made a mistake."
The fact that his ankle injury limited him in the Super Bowl yet not while flinging himself around to LMFAO songs also didn't help his case.
Gronkowski's latest antics may have many literally laughing their butts off, but this situation is no joke. He represents the New England Patriots franchise on and off the field whether he likes it or not.
Insulting a widely known and beloved athlete on your division rivals' roster just doesn't jive with the "Patriot Way". Considering Wes Welker was benched for the opening series of a playoff game due to his rather harmless comments, it makes me wonder how hard New England will come down on their All-Pro tight end.
Still, Gronkowski's comments were of a harmful nature and won't earn him any gold stars from New England's brass or PR department.
Perhaps the first warning sign of Gronk's impending behavior trouble came in October of last year.
He was internally punished by the team and forced to make a scripted apology to the New England media following the release of pictures in which Gronkowski and adult film actress Bibi Jones are shown in an embrace.
It wasn't so much the content of the pictures, which were insanely tame considering the possibilities. It was the inappropriateness of promoting an adult film star in a Patriots uniform all over the web and Twitterverse.
Tom Brady weighed in prior to the apology, and outright predicted the trouble Gronk had gotten himself into.
"I would have guessed there would be pictures of him somehow with his shirt off, posing or something like that. I’m just glad I’m no longer the one people are making fun of on a daily basis,"Brady told WEEI radio in Boston. "Gronk probably already knows (a visit to coach's office is coming)."
The awkward interview that followed in the Patriots locker room featured Gronkowski giving close to 10 variations of the same statement in response to every question he received until it was mercifully ended.
"I didn't intend anything to hurt the reputation of anyone on the New England Patriots or on behalf of Robert Kraft," he said. "It was just a simple picture and that's all."
But it's not about intent Rob, and it's time to start learning that.
One connection to the the adult films industry wasn't enough apparently as Gronkowski has made multiple visits to the Playboy Mansion over the course of the last year.
His latest venture into Hugh Hefner's playground didn't evolve into any other negative headlines, but still, from a Patriots perspective, this type of activity can't be high on their list of desirable activity.
In the grand scheme of things, this won't cause much harm to Gronkowski's stock in New England, but it certainly can't help the overall weight on the camel's back.
It involves the picture you see on this slide and the alleged fact that the girl to the left is only 16-years-old.
Though we don't know if the story is true or false, how many Patriots have these types of troublesome stories attached to their name?
Brandon Spikes has been suspended and also has a "home video" out, and a couple other players on the roster like Kevin Faulk have been charged in weed related arrests. Gronkowski takes the cake when considering the shear quantity of negative headlines however.
I doubt heavily that Gronkowski has done enough harm to warrant worrying about his future with the team. With that said, he's been far from a perfect Patriot thus far and I guarantee you owner Robert Kraft hasn't enjoyed having his franchise attached to the likes of the Playboy Mansion and Bibi Jones.
The means in which the team has gone about punishing Gronk in the past clearly haven't had much effect. He's in Bill Belichick's doghouse right now, that's for sure. New England as an organization prides itself on it's ability to control it's locker room and not engage in ridiculous childish smack talk.
Sure, it's funny, it was hilarious admittedly, but that's not the point. This type of behavior undermines the Patriots' philosophy and is a really bad stunt for a player to pull. If it weren't for his stature as the most productive player in the league at his position, he may have already been called out on three strikes.