When it doesn't go perfect out there, everyone wants to jump on Randy. It's all of us, and we all have to do a better job."-Tom BradyWhen I first heard the comments from Panther cornerbacks Chris Gamble and Chris Harris badmouthing Randy Moss for supposedly giving up in last weeks game, I knew how the Patriots would react. You can say what you want about the Patriots or Boston sports in general, but they will defend their teams to the death. Brady, Belichick, and even the owner Robert Kraft stood up for Moss saying it was unfair criticism and that Moss was still one of the most dominant players in the game. Moss certainly did not have one of his best games, and admittedly does have a tendency to give up at times. But a teammate should never call out one of their own.
This is how a class organization like the Patriots handle things. However, this speaks to a larger issue in sports. Too many times these days players use the media as a platform to discuss what should be a private matter. From Larry Johnson tweeting about his distaste for his head coach, to Heinz Ward calling out his quarterback, there seems to be less and less team loyalty these days.
So, why is this? It could be that in the era of free agency, everyone is out for themselves. Players hop from team to team trying to get as much money as they can. Winning is still the number one priority, but for some teams and players, making money is a close second. Or is it the media and technologies fault? If the Internet and the 24 Hour News cycle existed back in the day would we have the same type of problems? Would Larry Bird and Robert Parish be bad mouthing each other through Twitter?
I really believe professional sports players should treat their teammates like family. I mean in essence isn't that what they are? Players often see their teammates more than their own families. They have to trust each other and believe in each other to succeed. If one of your own makes a mistake, it is the responsibility of the teammate to forgive and back them up.
If you look at the successful teams in sports, they all have tight bonds. My beloved Celtics are a perfect example of this. Have you ever seen any tension on this team? They all seem to genuinely like each other and go about their business as professionals. Even if this isn't really how it is, perception is huge in life. If you can outwardly portray a certain image and deal with things internally you will be more successful.
Look, just like families, teams have issues too. The important thing is to protect your own and not throw one another under the proverbial bus. I was proud to be a Boston fan on Monday. By backing the Patriots it reflects the loyal city that Boston is.