Rob Gronkowski Need Not Apologize

Really, people? Is THIS photo worth forcing Rob Gronkowski to apolgize? (www.larrybrownsports.com)

When I first posted about New England Patriot Rob Gronkowski‘s adult-film photo buddy Monday, I treated the story with appropriate mirth. The silliness of it seemed to dwarf anything else.

But when I saw Gronkowski’s backtracking apology Wednesday, my attitude changed completely. And my response will be anything but silly.

Gronkowski has done absolutely nothing wrong. Abso… lutely…. nothing. Gronkowski doesn’t have a wife, nor does he have a girlfriend. He in no way cheated on anyone. His association with a porn star did not violate any romantic relationship he previously had.

Additionally, Bibi Jones is 20 years old. She is a legal, consenting adult. That shouldn’t even matter, because she and Gronkowski (who’s only 2 years older, btw) didn’t have sex. But had they, and assuming no alcohol or coercion was involved, there still wouldn’t be a problem.

All Jones and Gronkowski did was take a couple of pictures. They aren’t pornographic pictures, either: All the important stuff is left to the imagination.

Is the photo suggestive? Of course it is. But no more so than this Emporio Armani ad or this Estee Lauder ad. The world is flooded with suggestive imagery.

How many children really got their first exposure to suggestive imagery from Gronkowski and Jones? Six, maybe eight?

Children weren’t hurt. Significant others weren’t hurt. Jones wasn’t hurt. And the Patriots organization certainly wasn’t hurt.

I’m sick and tired of the bullshit, hypocritical moralism with which some people treat professional athletes. The only standards athletes should be held to are whether their actions a) give them an unfair performance advantage, or b) directly hurt another person. These are the same two basic standards we apply to everyone, from students to businessmen to politicians (though we might not always prosecute violations of those standards in the latter two cases).

Get over this inane belief in the sanctity of sport – It’s a belief held only by those not athletic enough to play at level high enough where that standard would apply.

Instead, consider this: in the grand scheme of athlete scandals over the past five years, where does Gronkowski rank? Tiger Woods went to rehab for sex addiction after admitting to multiple affairs. Michael Vick went to jail for killing dogs. Ben Roethlisberger may have raped two women. Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg in a nightclub. Gilbert Arenas pulled out a gun in his locker room.

Countless athletes have been busted for driving while intoxicated. Adam “Pacman” Jones needs far too many words to describe his rap sheet.

Gronkowski’s a saint compared to these guys! All he did was take a few pictures!

When I was a kid, I went to a sci-convention and got my photo taken with Jeri Ryan from “Star Trek: Voyager.” It was awesome, and my photo served as a lovely souvenir. Gronkowski got to hang out with a porn star. It was awesome, and his photos are his lovely souvenir. And if he uses them to boost his Twitter following, who the hell cares?

Because of the Patriots’ press-repressive attitude, we don’t know if Bill Belichick or Bob Kraft ordered Gronkowski to apologize, if they “suggested” he apologize, or if he preemptively decided to kill the story by apologizing himself. If Gronkowski was forced, shame on management for giving in to the double-standard unfairly imposed on professional athletics.

Now, if Gronkowski just decided he’d had enough of the news cycle, fine. Watching his smirk throughout the interview, I could tell he’s not actually sorry for any of it.

Nor should he be.

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