By Alan Cotler
We’ve allowed things to go too far in the age of ME. The shame/narcissism scale is out of whack. We have spent so much time loving ourselves, being proud of what we do, yearning for praise that there is too little shame. We don’t own up to our shortcomings nor do we feel the need to apologize for our actions.
Tom Brady’s self importance and hubris is the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. I am sick of image-seeking “heroes” turning out to be spiritual disasters. I wish Mr. Brady would find an inner soul, look in the mirror, and realize that “image” is not what life is about. Then maybe he could write something like this:
Dear Commissioner Goodell:
It’s midnight and no one is up except me. Giselle is no longer yelling at me that I am a fool to take your punishment lying down. I sent my lawyer Don Yee home. God, I can tell him that the earth is flat and for $1K/hour he will argue that on ESPN. My PR guys want $300,000.00 for a quick phone poll to see if I have fooled anyone who doesn’t speak with a Boston accent.
Only Coach Bill has been cool. He hasn’t said a word to me since the whole thing blew up in my face. He just keeps winking at me and blowing kisses. Coach Bill is a genius. Man, he has read all those military books on battles and wars. He always says that all is fair in love and war.
And my Dad, I love him. He’s taught me all I know. I owe all of my character and inner strength to him. He has said my whole life that whenever I have not succeeded, it was someone else’s fault. I’m fortunate good old Dad is always there to tell me how wonderful I am. Even with this unfortunate lapse in judgment. And Mr. Commissioner, that’s why I can’t sleep and I am writing to you now.
I did my best at Salem State with my prized phony smile, after Mr. Wells’ report came out. It wasn’t easy but my wife and Mr. Yee said I could fool anyone. Mr. Yee said that the Patriots fans couldn’t care less about integrity, fairness or character. I wasn’t sure – but he was right. Who cares if I’ve thrown a couple of dopey ball boys under the bus? They’ll find jobs somewhere. Maybe they’ll spill the beans on “60 Minutes.” I’m Tom Brady and winning is everything. I could have robbed several banks at gunpoint and the Fans would have applauded my actions. But Mr. Commish, I do have a conscience and I do have integrity. I did see the movie “Braveheart” and I loved it.
I can’t let this nonsense go on. Of course, I kind of gave little presents to the good old ball boys for their devilish little deeds with the footballs. I got a little carried away. It really helped throwing the ball to get rid of a few specks of air. I figured you wouldn’t mind. If I can juice up my stats and win for your buddy – our owner – I thought you wouldn’t mind. I just wasn’t thinking. I kinda thought it was my right to do this. I know I was a big proponent of making sure each team could sort of take care of the footballs they used on offense before each game – but I promise you I didn’t think of my plan until way after that – when I realized I would have to play in cold weather so often up here in snowy Massachusetts, I felt I deserved a break. I thought the whole idea was awesome. Well, awesome until the you-know-what hit the fan.
Look, not giving you all my incriminating texts and emails and so forth was my lawyer’s idea. I wanted to cooperate, but after Mr. Yee read my friendly words of encouragement to the good old ball boys while he was having dinner at our house, he said he lost his appetite and asked for a $1 million retainer before he would do any more work. Right then I figured at that time that things weren’t so great.
I’m coming clean. I don’t want to be remembered as football’s A-Rod, Ryan Braun, Lance Armstrong, or even Bill Clinton. And hey, what he did under the desk with what’s her name – are you telling me that a couple of specks of air in a football is as bad as that? I don’t think he ever apologized for that little lapse in judgment.
Well, I have to get to bed. I am sorry for what I did. That “Saturday Night Live” skit about me still bugs the hell out of me. Though they did do an awesome job. I did it, Mr. Commissioner. I apologize to you, my family, my team, my city and to every little kid who looked up to me as some kind of hero. I know Mickey Mantle told the truth right before he died. I didn’t want to wait that long.
All my best,
PS. Can we make it two games?
Alan Cotler is a Philadelphia lawyer who was drafted in the 12th round of the 1972 NBA draft by Dick Motta’s Chicago Bulls after going 99-6 as a Penn Quaker basketball player.