Sports

The New England Patriots sure put the F in family

The New England Patriots are not a family-friendly organization. Color me surprised.

For the second consecutive season, the Patriots received an F- on their NFLPA report card in the “treatment of families,” category. In observing the organization from a distance for 30-plus years, warmth is certainly not a vibe I get from it. The Pats’ home stadium is eight miles from the nearest interstate exit. Being located that far into the Massachusetts tundra gives off more “off the grid compound” than “welcome friend.”

Consecutive F minuses though for basic politeness, that is impressively prickly. I picture one of Matthew Judon’s children asking Bill Belichick what the helmets are made out of and the Pats former head coach responding, “We’re on to Cincinnati.”

Being nice to employees is not a requirement for running a successful business. Although it is a good idea, and is the way to get the best effort out of employees, money has been made for years without that being a priority. Failing at kindness towards employee families though, I did not think any moderately successful company could be that socially incompetent.

Whether I like a person or not, when I meet families I am always nicer to them than the person. I don’t think I have ever smiled at one of my friends, but when talking to their significant others or parents, my teeth are showing. When teachers would bring their families to class I would be nice to them regardless of how annoying the person in front of the blackboard is on a daily basis. That’s just common decency.

Belichick will gush when talking to Ed Reed about a play that the Hall of Fame defensive back made in a regular season game years ago. But if a player’s dad can’t sustain a conversation about the best ways to defend pick routes on the goal line, I guess Bill feels no need to entertain that person.

Winning has been the priority of that franchise for many years. From the front office to the quality control staff, everyone has been in lockstep with that mentality. However, at some point, the football-obsessed robots have to at least appear to be actual human beings. Tom Brady did not retire a Patriot for a reason. He was still a great player when he left, but even he desired something more than a focus frozen onto nothing but dominating a few months’ worth of Sundays every year.

Maybe I’m being too hard on Belichick. I don’t know the guy. Maybe he is actually the only person in the organization that attempted to connect with players’ families. While that could be the case I have doubts. At a Super Bowl parade, the chant that Belichick introduced to the crowd was “no days off.” This was at an event in which people were literally taking the day off of work to be at.

He is no longer with the Patriots. They have made the playoffs once in four seasons without Brady. Belichick’s emotionless pursuit of victory no longer resulted in winning so he had to go. Jerod Mayo is now the head coach. He and team owner Robert Kraft need to fix the organization’s problems with the way that it treats families before the start of OTAs.

The Patriots need to throw a backyard party at their extremely difficult-to-reach football stadium with Kraft on the grill, and Mayo organizing a touch football game with the families. The two of them should start showing up for career day at the players’ kids’ schools.

The time for drastic measures is now. Because players giving the franchise an F- in consecutive seasons for the way that it treats their families should be a shameful failure. They are telling the Patriots that they suck at common courtesy.



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