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When it comes to Rob Gronkowski's antics, opinions are split down the middle.
Kirk Minihane, columnist for WEEI Boston, penned a recent article on the subject. Here's a snippet:
We've reached intervention stage with Rob Gronkowski. ...what [he] did on that stage was potentially damaging to the New England Patriots. Not the brand, not some image, not the Patriot Way, but the actual on-field product. Lifting a friend in the air and attempting wrestling moves. ...is inviting further damage to a left arm that has been broken twice in the last three months.
This isn’t taking a picture with a porn star or dancing a week before surgery, this is pure recklessness.
Minihane ended his article with this "message" to Gronkowski:
Don’t put yourself or the New England Patriots in danger. Enjoy being a single, famous and rich 23-year-old, but don’t cross the line again.
Minihane's perspective is bold and intriguing, yet there are others who see things in a wildly different light. Logan Mankins, Patriots guard, recently offered his contrasting views on Gronkowski's "partying" and "wrestling," via ESPN:
I think Gronk's having fun. ...The headlines might not be what a lot of people want, but at least he's not getting DUIs or doing things that are against the law. I don't think he's hurting anyone. ...Hopefully he doesn't hurt his arm because then that would be bad. You know Gronk, he is a big meathead that likes to party and play football.
So, there you have it: Dueling voices on a subject which Patriots fans across the country have been chewing on for a long time. So, which perspective do you align yourself with?
Personally, I don't align myself with either perspective.
I don't need Gronkowski to sit in a dusty, desolate room, contorted in the position of Rodin's "Thinker," laboring over the shortcomings of his last two seasons (which include, but are not limited to, being injured, ineffective and/or inactive for the two biggest games of his career).
Nor do I vehemently applaud or champion his antics as the harmless meandering of youth and ignorance.
For me, this is about one thing: reputation.
All of these antics, however harmless, feed into Gronkowski's reputation. This specific reputation makes him less intimidating as a warrior. That matters to me.
Reputation matters, not only in football, but in life. It's a sacred thing. There was a time when a man's word, along with his handshake, was more reliable than the thickest, wordiest legal document. Back then, men would work their whole lives to craft that kind of valuable reputation and they'd protect it at all costs.
Just some food for thought.