Ochocinco stays understated in Indy

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Ochocinco stays understated in Indy

INDIANAPOLIS -- You had to wonder what Super Bowl Media Day would be like for Chad Ochocinco. The Patriots receiver has done nothing on the field this season worth talking about, but, considering his old habit of grandstanding for the national media, there seemed a chance he would still try to entertain. He's waited 11 years for this day, after all.

But there was no show.

There was as much payoff for eager media on Tuesday as there has been for Patriots fans who hopped aboard his bandwagon this season. Ochocinco played it safe. When plied about the obvious struggles of his first Patriots season, he assumed a mental meditation stance.

He (God) did it for a reason. Let me tell you what happens," Ochocinco said. "Im in New England, and when youre in New England, you think of the elite of the elite when it comes to NFL teams.
"Now, if God put me in this situation and he puts me through this test and I act up on the biggest stage of them all with the elite of the elite, what comes after that? Where am I going after that? He already put me here, so there isnt any sense in going back. So Im seeing it in a whole different light than anyone else is.
According to No. 85, those who watched New England's games and assumed he's lost a step weren't seeing the complete picture. It wasn't football test he had to endure, but a spiritual one.
"Its so much bigger than what everybody else is thinking about. Theyre thinking about the individuals. If I would have been thinking like that, I would have got cut Week 3, complaining about the ball. Its been a joy.

Ochocinco had 5 catches for 87 yards and zero touchdowns through those first three weeks. It's true he never whined. In fact, his Zen-like attitude during Super Bowl week is no diversion from the rest of the year. It's like he hasn't earned outlandishness.

The caricature of Chad Johnson -- Ochocinco -- is a by-product of his on-field production. When those numbers aren't there, the facade disappears and the man is left to answer.

He did so, serenely, at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Id rather be right here than have 100 catches. Ive already put up all the numbers. Ive already done that. One of the things I that I was really happy about was that this is one of the few times, or really the only time, that I wont be home at the Martin Luther King parade because Im always home the first week of January."

Considering how his stats in Cincinnati never added up to a Super Bowl ring, it makes some sense that winning into February could bring Ochocinco some peace. But total satisfaction? It's doubtful -- no matter how many mental quests he conjures.

You know how I got here? I came from Dade County, this place called Liberty City, where the odds were against me all through life growing up," he said."You think Im going to complain after all Ive been through to get to this point?
Deferring is probably one of the smartest things he's done all season.

Tom Brady on Donald Trump: 'I certainly disagree with what he said'

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Tom Brady on Donald Trump: 'I certainly disagree with what he said'

After beating the Texans on Sunday, 36-33, Tom Brady didn't want to delve too deeply into what went into his locking arms with teammates during the national anthem. 

"I just think," Brady said, "there's just a great love for my teammates."

He didn't want to get into Donald Trump's comments about players kneeling for the anthem, but he was willing to go there during Monday's Kirk and Callahan Show on WEEI.

"Yeah, I certainly disagree with what he said," Brady explained. "I thought it was just divisive. Like I said, I just want to support my teammates. I am never one to say, ‘Oh, that is wrong. That is right.’ I do believe in what I believe in. I believe in bringing people together and respect and love and trust. Those are the values that my parents instilled in me. That is how I try and live every day.

"I have been blessed to be in locker rooms with guys all over the United States over the course of my career. Some of my great friends are from Florida, Virginia, New York, Montana, Colorado, Texas. The one thing about football is it brings so many guys together -- guys you would never have the opportunity to be around. Whether it was in college, and all the way into the pros. We’re all different, we’re all unique. That is what makes us all special."

Brady was one of several players locking arms on the Patriots sideline for the anthem. More than a dozen others, including Devin McCourty, took a knee. Just before and immediately after the anthem, fans booed the demonstration.

"I think everyone has the right to do whatever they want to do," Brady said of the response. "If you don’t agree, that is fine. You can voice your disagreement, I think that is great. It’s part of our democracy. As long as it is done in a peaceful, respectful way, that is what our country has been all about."

Curran: In the end, everyone stood because of the game

Curran: In the end, everyone stood because of the game

FOXBORO – The boos and demands to “Stand up!” rained down just as the Star Spangled Banner began. The players on the Patriots sideline who knelt – the ones boos and invective was directed at – stayed down. Others stood, locking arms with teammates while others stood with their hands over their hearts.

By game’s end, everyone was on their feet. Players. Coaches. Fans. Together.

Unless they left early because of traffic and a late Patriots deficit. Or because they couldn’t bear the thought of watching an NFL game on a beautiful September Sunday because the entertainers didn’t do what they wanted them to do before the performance began.

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The whole thing’s complicated. I understand why people take offense at those who don’t stand for the anthem.

I understand why others want to deliver a symbolic message about their American experience.

I completely understand why, two days after President Trump thought it appropriate to use the phrase “son of a bitch” to refer to someone making a silent, reflective statement, many NFL players felt challenged, backed into a corner and somewhat dehumanized. The message delivered was, in essence, “Shut up and dance.”

Personally, I prefer to stick to sports. I don’t think I’m equipped to talk politics because I don’t know policy, legislation, constituencies and special interests – all the things that I define as politics – well enough to drone on at anybody.

As for sociology – which is what this is about rather than politics – I have my experiences and others have theirs. I’m trying to mow my own lawn over here. You do you. I’ll do me. As long as you don’t encroach on me doing me while you do you, I’m fine. When I’m not completely self-absorbed, a respectful exchange of ideas can make me see things in a different light.

It didn’t surprise me some people at Gillette Stadium had a visceral and vocal reaction to players kneeling. The pot was brought to a boil all weekend, the lid was just lifted and it bubbled over.

But the irony of how the afternoon played out – that Brandin Cooks, a player booing fans were screaming at to stand three hours earlier brought them to their feet with his toe-tapping last-minute touchdown – was perfectly symbolic.

Ultimately, everyone was there for the football – the players, coaches, media and fans – and in the end it was the football that brought the unified response that stood in contrast to the divided reactions in the stands and on the field before the game.

“That’s what sports is,” said Patriots safety Devin McCourty. “That’s what sports does. That’s what makes them great. They bring out what we have in common.

“I don’t think people look at us as human,” McCourty said. “I don’t think they ever have. We’re just the entertainment. They don’t understand that there’s a human behind it. People want to shake your hand or have their picture taken with you but they don’t want to know you. That’s reality.”

Maybe. Or maybe people feel their voices aren’t heard. They don’t have a column they can write or a TV or radio show to spout off on. They don’t have the chance to demonstrate their individual feelings at their cubicle before the workday starts.

All they know is they spent $500 or more to get to and into with a belly full of steak tips and beer and they don’t need to feel like being reminded about somebody else’s societal oppression on their day off, thank you very much.

It’s not so much about who does what during the Star Spangled Banner as much as it is that a lot of people don’t appreciate the intrusion. That, and they’re tired of hearing how bad everyone else has it when it’s really no damn picnic for most people these days.

Believe me, there’s not unanimity of opinion in the Patriots locker room any more than there is in your office, home, dorm or neighborhood. Players of different races, backgrounds, economic circumstances and ways of expressing themselves are thrown in a pot together and told to work for a common goal and rely on each other.

The mish-mash of ways in which players responded during the anthem on the Patriots sideline, the reticence of some players to dip a toe in the conversation, McCourty’s opening statement at the podium and then his declining to take questions and Bill Belichick’s comment that he would “deal with that later” all seemed to indicate that the team itself is still working through how it expresses itself as a whole.

It’s complicated for them too.

But in the end, it was the football that bound them together. It was the game that left them jumping on each other and the fans standing and screaming and nobody thinking at all about who did what when the song played before the game.

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