I have watched with a certain amount of amusement as a hue and cry has arisen over this foul deed. The clamor is all the more strident because the New England organization has been caught cheating before. Of course there has been considerable humor that has come out of the incident. The word for the week on Sesame Street following the incident was “inflation.” Since Dunkin Donuts are the official doughnuts of the New England Patriots (they have such a thing?) Krispy Kreme came out with an ad picturing a custard-filled, chocolate-covered doughnut shaped kind of like a football. The caption said, “ours are always full.”
I have had a couple of reactions to this “huge” controversy. The first is that it appears to me there is an awful lot of hypocrisy coming out here. I see some people claiming it is awful that New England would cheat like that. The standard line right now is that should they win the Super Bowl it will be forever tainted. Yet the prevalence of efforts to cut corners and circumvent rules suggests that an awful lot of the people who are doing so much “tsk-tsking” over this might well also cut a corner if they thought it would help them win or gain some goal they desire and they thought they wouldn’t get caught. I fear there are some pots calling the kettle black. This actually has some spiritual significance. It is not uncommon to hear people say they don’t want anything to do with the church because there are so many hypocrites in it. From my perspective it appears that a lot that is going on right now tells us that if you apply that reasoning consistently you’d also have to say you don’t want anything to do with the human race, because, as we are seeing, it is also chock full of hypocrites.
In the end though, my biggest reaction is, “don’t you have something more important to talk about?” I realize that some of the reason for all the furor of this rather overinflated (pun intended) controversy is that in our media saturated culture where we have multiple outlets dedicated to sports, there simply is not enough material to fill 24 hours of programming every day. When there are shows dedicated to covering the NFL and there is only one game on the schedule for the next 8 months, you will inevitably end up with much ado about nothing. It’s either deflated footballs or mind-numbing, repetitive discussions of the upcoming NFL draft, which is still 5 months away. I think this is likely the inevitable result of a culture that is avoiding the big questions of life and focusing on distracting itself by entertainment. Many in our culture want to escape the pain of their own lives or the frightening and tragic nature of life in this world by distracting themselves with trivial entertainment. That also explains the obsession many people have with minute details of the lives of “celebrities.” It is distraction for non-sports fans. While waiting to get my hair cut recently I picked up a People magazine because it was all that was available at that moment. Once again I found myself thinking, “don’t you have something more important to write about?” Perhaps this is what can happen when people don’t “set your mind on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:2). I am so thankful to our God of grace that because of his kindness and love given through our Lord Jesus I can look life square in the face with peace. I can know that every moment of my life has meaning because of what he has done for me. I enjoy sports, no secret there. But my life is about things of far more importance than that. If New England did try to cheat then they should be punished, but I have more interesting things to spend my time on than that.