Malcolm Butler

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Answer The Question, Hood

Of course he didn’t say anything about why he benched Malcolm Butler.

July 25, 2018 - 9:16 am

Bill Belichick met with the media this morning in New England and finally, after months of silence, ended all the confusion about why Malcolm Butler did not play in the Super Bowl. Finally. Finally! And damn! It was illuminating as hell. I’ve never seen this side of the hood! I’ve never seen this guy show up and own anything like this. Are you kidding me about dude?! I’m not going to build up the answer any more, let’s just go to the tape.

Of course he didn’t say anything about why he benched Malcolm Butler, because he was never going to say anything about why he benched Malcolm Butler. That mess of dodges is still the most honest and open you’ll ever hear him about Butler. 

And that was all brought to you by one Daniel Shaughnessy. Boston legend. JRIB legend. Just plain legend.  

Dan Shaughnessy, if you need him. That was two masters, two titans who’ve honed their skills and techniques, just trading and swinging. One hitting a question from every angle, the other ducking, dodging, and slipping every punch. 

Dan started with the premise that Belichick which is completely focused on this year and appealed to Belichick’s fandom and connection with the fans to answer the question. 

Then dealt with Bill pretending to be obtuse about training camp. 

And then dealt with William just rattling off different years, for no apparent reason other than to spin clock and stall. 

Then Dan goes judo on Belichick, trying to use his strength against him. For this season’s team, is it important to address Malcolm Butler??. But of course, Belichick was having none of it. 

And then Belichick ended the exchange with a “hopefully you can respect that, but maybe not.”

What stands out in that exchange isn’t what’s said, it’s what’s not said. Well, two things that aren’t said. He doesn’t give an answer about Butler, but you already knew that was the case. There was no way that he was going to talk about it and nobody should be shocked by it. It’s not new, it’s not funny, it just is. In the same way that Nick Saban manufactures reasons to be bitter with the press, Belichick does this act all the time.

Except this one was a little different, because he was at least willing to listen to the questions and he didn’t just keep repeating “we’re on to Cincinnati” or some other dumb phrase. Is listening to the questions and ducking them in a creative way a sign that he’s admitting that he was wrong? Maybe. 

Then again, giving him credit for listening to the questions is a pretty low bar to set. In fact, giving points for “listening to the questions at a press conference before responding to them” is such a low bar, it’s buried in the ground.

SO….  ANSWER THE FREAKING QUESTION. THE HOOD NEEDS TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION. It’s the right thing to do. It’s the decent thing to do. It’s the professional thing to do. But he’s not going to do it. 

This shtick is tired. So, so tired. It’s not cool or funny or wacky that he doesn’t answer these questions. To the extent that anything in a press conference about a football game is cowardly, that is cowardly. You aren’t being asked about strategy for an upcoming game, you’re being asked to answer the one question you’ve dodged for five and a half months.  The one thing that may have in fact, cost you the Super Bowl. And believe me, we’re not the only ones who want to know: every guy in your locker room does too. So answer the question.   

If you made a mistake, own up to it. And if you believe you didn’t make a mistake, stand by it. You’re 66 years old. Act like it. 

Be accountable. The Patriot mantra is: Do your job. And part of your job is to answer questions. So do YOUR  job. You want your players to be accountable, maybe you should be accountable, too. You’re not going to be fired. You won’t lose any fans. If anything, you might gain some by being candid. 

So why wouldn’t he answer the question? Because he’s Bill Belichick. 

But he won’t because it’s not the Belichick thing to do. He’s only going to do what he has to do and when you’re a five-time Super Bowl winner, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. And that includes answering any question, but especially a question by admitting that you screwed up.

Because he did. Nick Foles threw for 373 yards against the Patriots and for some reason, New England didn’t have one of their most important defensive players on the field. They were down double digits at halftime and didn’t try to shake it up by putting the player who’d played the most defensive snaps that season, on the field. 

There is a really good question as to why, but if there was a good answer to that question, Belichick would’ve given it by now. Or it would’ve leaked out. But instead, it’s just conjecture and hearsay about why it happened.  

But he would rather give you his social security number and bank account detail than give you an honest answer on that. And you’re just going to have to get used to it. Because it’s not changing. But it should. Answer the freaking question. And maybe then people will stop asking it.