LOVE TO HATE

Del Olaleye: Sports hate is healthy, so (bleep) Tom Brady and the Patriots

It's easy to hate Tom Brady. Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

F--- Tom Brady might be the most used phrase across Philadelphia the next two weeks. With the Eagles in the Super Bowl, Philly fan will be at full tilt as their city becomes one of the epicenters of the football world.Their what I like to call “sports hate” for Tom Brady stems from a past on-field result and a possible future result. He was the QB of the 2004 Patriots. The same Patriots who beat the Donovan McNabb-led Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX. He just so happens to be standing in their way again as the Eagles attempt to become Super Bowl champions for the first time. That is entry-level sports hate. Player A has a chance to ruin your season. They hate him because they should.

My sports hate for Tom Brady is at an elite level. I don’t think I’ve rooted against one player longer than I have Brady. As a Dolphins fan, Brady’s career includes countless victories against my favorite team. Not really countless. There is a record of it somewhere. I just refuse to look it up. The victories number so many that he has helped turned the Dolphins into merely a road bump he has to run over twice a season as opposed to a legitimate threat. The Dolphins have done enough to crater their own chances that I don’t really hate the Patriots anymore. They play a brand of football that is so far superior that I don’t even get mad when Miami loses. I’ve been in this stage of acceptance for about a decade. With that being said, I still root for Tom Brady to lose every time he touches the field. I told you I was at an elite level.

I know I’m not alone. There is at least one player, coach, referee or owner for everyone that no matter the situation, you hope they die a slow and painful sports death. I proposed this topic on the Raheel and Del show in mid-December and phone calls flooded the show. From Bud Adams to Matt Schaub to Nick Saban to Drayton McClane, everybody had someone they wanted to fail miserably. You continue to root for their failure long after the adverse effects on your team that they’re responsible for have worn off.

College football is the perfect place to cultivate your sports hate. Your school has the same opponents every year. Sometimes those opponents are in your home state. Opposing coaches, players and fans say things to hype up their squad by denigrating you and yours. I was born in Daytona Beach, Florida. So were several of my cousins. Our family football allegiances are divided amongst the big 3 schools in the state. Florida, Florida State and Miami. I have family who love Florida State and Florida. I will never root for the Seminoles or the Gators. I hope they lose every time they touch the field, court or pool. When people tell me they root for FSU or Florida I immediately begin to have thoughts about them as human beings. I can tell you those thoughts aren’t complimentary. Watching FSU catch an L on a Friday night in October at Boston College was better than watching Miami beat UNC the next day.

Like I said, I’m elite.

Spending a perfectly good 2.5 to 4 hours watching a sporting event you have no emotional connection to just to root for the downfall of a person you don’t know means your sports hate has reached Super Saiyian. Embrace that. When your teams are mediocre or flat out terrible you need something to give your sports life meaning. No better way to find meaning for an otherwise empty sports existence than to revel in another’s misery.

The Patriots have a chance to win their sixth Super Bowl. Nobody needs that. I’ve got no connection to the Eagles besides Eagles Fan Holly but I know who I’ll be rooting against in Super Bowl LII.

F--- Tom Brady? You're damn right, F--- Tom Brady.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
Watson's accusers appeared on Real Sports on Tuesday night. Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images.

HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel’s heavily promoted and much anticipated examination of Deshaun Watson’s legal mess involving alleged sexual misconduct shed little new light and merely presented a summary of well worn he said/she (x22) said accusations and denials.

The episode debuted Tuesday night on the premium cable service and will be repeated dozens of times throughout the week on HBO’s platforms. Check your local listings for times and channel.

The segment was hosted by Soledad O’Brien who presented compelling face-to-face interviews with two of the quarterback’s accusers: massage therapists Ashley Solis and Kyla Hayes. Their stories were detailed and graphic. Both cried during the interviews.

Solis: “As I’m working, he deliberately grabs himself and put his penis on my hand. I pulled my hand away instantly and I started crying. I told that I’m done. I don’t want to do this anymore.”

Solis said she felt threatened when Watson, before leaving the session, allegedly told her: “I know you have a career to protect, and I know that you don’t want anyone messing with it, just like I don’t want anyone messing with mine.”

Solis added, “That’s when I got really scared because that sounded like a threat to me.”

Hayes: “He wanted me to kind of make a V motion in his pelvic area. I just kept massaging and did what he asked, until his penis kept touching me repeatedly as I did it.”

Hayes said that Watson had an orgasm, which she said was “mortifying, embarrassing and disgusting.”

O’Brien asked Hayes why she continued to have contact via email with Watson after their encounter.

Hayes: "I wasn't sure what he was capable of. He could've physically assaulted me. He could've bashed my business, so I had to protect myself and my business the best way I saw fit. Did I ever see him again after that? No. Did I give him the runaround? Yes."

O’Brien pointed out that two separate grand juries in Texas heard criminal accusations against Watson and neither found enough evidence to indict him.

Solis and Hayes, and 20 other massage therapists have filed civil suits against Watson. The cases aren’t expected to reach a courtroom until next March. Both sides could reach a settlement before then which would effectively shut down any legal action against Watson. However, both sides say they aren’t interested in any pretrial settlements. That’s what they say now, anyway.

After being banished to the sidelines for the 2021 season by the Houston Texans, Watson signed a historic, 5-year fully guaranteed $230 million contract with the Cleveland Browns.

Hayes said she feels Watson “is being rewarded for bad behavior." Solis said, "It's just like a big screw you. That's what it feels like. That we (the Browns) don't care. He can run and throw, and that's what we care about.”

Watson currently is participating in preseason workouts with the Browns and, at the moment, is cleared to play the upcoming NFL season.

That is unless the NFL suspends Watson for some, most or all of the 2022 season. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said the league is nearing completion of its independent investigation into Watson’s case and will reach a decision “shortly,” probably this summer. The NFL and NFL Players Association mutually agreed to have former U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson decide whether or not Watson violated the league’s Personal Conduct Policy and what discipline should be handed down if he did.

The Browns are scheduled to play the Texans on Dec. 4 at NRG Stadium in Houston.

O’Brien said, while producing the Real Sports piece, she tried to interview Watson, his attorneys and the Cleveland Browns for their side of the story. All declined.

During a press conference in March to announce his joining the Browns, Watson denied any inappropriate behavior with the massage therapists.

Watson: “I never assaulted any woman. I’ve never disrespected any woman. I was raised to be genuine and respect everyone around me. I’ve never done the thing that these people are alleging. My mom and my aunties didn’t raise me that way.”

Leah Graham, a member of Watson’s legal team, sat for an interview after O’Brien’s segment was complete.

Graham: "It's 22 women. It's one lawyer. There's only one lawyer who was willing to take these cases. And as we know from Ashley Solis’ deposition, Mr. (Houston attorney Tony) Buzbee was not the first, probably not the second or third lawyer she went to, but he was the only one to take her case. Why? Not because it had merit, but because he would use these cases to increase his social media following and quite frankly to get on shows like this one.”

My reaction after watching the Real Sports segment? We weren’t in the room when the massage therapists worked on Watson. We weren’t in the grand jury room when evidence against Watson was presented. We don’t know what happened. We don’t know what will happen if these cases go to trial.

Until then all we have is one big, lurid, embarrassing mess. In American courtrooms, defendants are presumed innocent. That’s often the opposite in the court of public opinion. We’ll just have to wait while the wheels of justice grind painfully slow.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome