Has anyone else noticed the river of accusations that seem to keep flowing through Beantown over recent years? Wait, you have no idea what I’m referring to? Take a seat and do your best impression of Auguste Rodin’s “Thinker Statue”, and maybe it’ll come to you.
Not yet? Fine, I got you covered.
Remember Tom Brady’s ankle injury late last season? There were a number of individuals out there accusing Brady of faking, to mess with the opposing team's game plan. Backing that rumor, the media caught Brady away from the New England practice facilities walking just fine.
The locals discarded it because at least this time, Brady wasn’t sporting a Yankees hat. Meanwhile, on the practice field, he was in a walking cast and hobbling with a noticeable limp.
If the faking rumor was true, it makes sense. Having a more immobile Brady would change the defensive schemes of the opponent. Having no Brady at all means a different plan for another quarterback, or perhaps more emphasis on the New England running game.
But was Brady faking?
Let’s switch over to baseball. Remember the rumors that came out last year to discuss how Curt Schilling faked the whole “bloody sock” incident?
It was Gary Thorne who mentioned it on the air during an Orioles broadcast in 2007. A day later, Thorne was on the air quickly eliminating these rumors, saying that he misheard, or perhaps “misremembered,” what Doug Mirabelli said about the injury…which was that it was strictly for PR.
Did someone get to Thorne?
Sure, if it were true, it also makes sense. The Red Sox were not only trying to eliminate an 86-year curse, but also attempting to overcome a 3-0 deficit from their hated rivals. Schilling’s heroic Game Six performance was 10,000 pounds of motivation, soaked into one little sock.
But was Schilling faking?
As recently as yesterday, Boston sports have once again been launched into a similar spotlight. This time with Paul Pierce and the Celtics, who are desperately trying to find an additional “kick in the pants” to help knock off the Los Angeles Lakers in this year’s NBA Finals.
Some critics have been vocal in stating that Los Angeles head coach Phil Jackson has hinted that Paul Pierce faked his knee injury during Game One. Certainly, someone nicknamed “The Truth” wouldn’t do something like that?!
It is rather curious though, considering that Pierce was quoted as saying he heard a “pop”, and thought his knee was torn at the time. Plus he was carried off the court, later coming back looking like a million bucks.
Let’s face it though…actually, let’s face “the truth.” Pierce’s return to the court not only sparked the crowd, but also his teammates.
Hitting the clutch three pointers late in the game just made that enthusiasm and motivation grow even more. So much that the Garden nearly exploded like a popcorn bag left in the microwave for a minute too long.
Pierce’s heroic return generated an insurmountable lead and just like that, Game One was Boston’s for the taking, leaving Kobe and the Lakers helpless.
But is Pierce faking?
Would Boston sports really fake more than Elaine Benes did with Jerry on Seinfeld? Or are the opponents and sports fans out there trying to find a way to deal with their jealousy for the recent stretch of greatness that Boston sports is currently on? That remains to be seen.
If you’re going to go out and call them all classless for such behavior, I invite you to sit and think about this one first. While I personally think there are a plethora of better ways to force motivation on your teammates and fans, there is still nothing wrong with what any Boston sports player has done.
If they even did it at all.
The key point we’re missing here is plain and simple. Winning in competitive sports is much more than just skill. Obviously, you do need to have elite talent to compete.
However, icy veins, guts, and heart are also important. Most importantly, a team needs cohesion and motivation to push them to the top of the mountain.
Sometimes, getting your team to exhibit all those traits takes extreme measures. I certainly am not accusing Boston sports players of faking, but I also wouldn’t be shocked if any of the aforementioned stars did it either.
Faking or not faking, it isn’t cheating. It isn’t like they videotaped anything.