Bill Belichick Clears the Extraordinarily Low Bar He Set for Himself
To some, Bill Belichick gave a “Master Class on how to handle one of the most difficult situations a football coach could possibly face,” when he addressed the Aaron Hernandez murder charges publicly for the first time in a press conference Wednesday. To others, he gave a master class in setting hilariously low bar for a Bill Belichick press conference and then easily stepping over it.
Belichick is famous, of course, for stomping all over the media’s many questions for him when he takes the podium. Just try to ask him about Tebow-ing. Go ahead, try.
Thus, the conversation concerning what Belichick would or wouldn’t say was, maybe, the most hotly debated topic in sports media for the past week. What would he wear? Would he say Hernandez’s name? Would he take responsibility? A CSN New England panel got into a heated screaming match about whether he should apologize that ended with one panelist quietly muttering to the other, “I hate you.”
So when Belichick appeared at least slightly apologetic, hurt, and effusive in his, in fact, extensive public comments on Hernandez, the world seems to briefly stop turning on its axis. The coach said:
It’s a sad day, really a sad day, on so many levels. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim. I send my sympathy really to everyone who has been impacted. A young man lost his life. His family has suffered a tragic loss, and there’s no way to understate that.
He continued …
This case involves an individual who happened to be a New England Patriot. We certainly do not condone unacceptable behavior, and this does not in any way represent the way that the New England Patriots want to do things. As the coach of the team, I’m primarily responsible for the people that we bring into the football operations… Most of those decisions have worked out, but some don’t…
Here is a selection of reviews of the speech you might excerpt for the movie theater poster.
“Perfect.” —Dan Shaugnessy
“Masterful.” —Barstool Sports
“Belichick like we have never seen or heard him before.” —Alice Cook
“Pitch Perfect.” –WBZ’s Paula Ebben
Here is a selection of reviews you would not excerpt for the movie poster, but that give a sense of just what, exactly, Belichick did to earn his speech a seat next to FDR’s December 7, 1941 address.
“Belichick did not mumble.” —Ron Borges
“He did things that surprised many of us. He said Hernandez’s name (once).” —Dan Shaugnessy
“A Gentleman’s ‘C’. Compared to standard D-minus, it looks/sounds great.” —Kevin Paul Dupont
As even the effusive Shaughnessy admitted, Bill Belichick really didn’t do much more than we’d expect from the leader of any organization whose employee has gotten himself into very public trouble. “Perhaps we have set the bar too low and any shred of accountability and courtesy from the coach is enlarged beyond reasonable proportions,” Shaugnessy noted. Perhaps! But that’s enough of that thought…
Belichick didn’t do much more than Bob Kraft before him. That’s why the “Gentleman’s C” is really a perfect grade here. He did no more and no less than what was expected of him. Is that “teaching a Master Class” in press relations? Not really. But it was good enough.