Rob Gronkowski Is Sheltered By The Privilege Of “Gronk Being Gronk”

    Rob Gronkowski is the living example of privilege afforded to a select few in the NFL and we saw the proof on full display on Sunday. Some players in the NFL have been coddled for so long that they feel like no one should play tough defense against them or challenge them. 

    Even before the vicious and straight booty late hit that he inflicted on Buffalo Bills secondary soldier Tre’Davious White in Sunday’s 23-3 win over the Bills, Gronk has been living the life of a rich, uninhibited, (white) American superstar. He’s treated differently, period. 

    The Shadow League on Twitter

    Cheap shot by Gronk https://t.co/qJJMZ8CiIL

    When Gronk was seen partying with his shirt off following a 2012 Super Bowl loss, nobody really gave him any heat. It raised a few eyebrows, but in the end its just seen as Gronk being Gronk. 

    Gronk Partying After Super Bowl

    Rob Gronkowski after Super Bowl XLVI loss in Indy. www.thenosebleeds.com

    But when Odell Beckham and his band of brothers went on a boat party a week before a playoff loss, social media, analysts and fans ran those brothers through the coals, calling them every name in the book and blaming the trip for a 38-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers last January. Names that, at times have also fit Gronks personality to a tee, but he’s always given a pass for his actions.   

                                                             

    Hes the crazy white boy who parties hard, plays through injuries, produces and seems to be judged by different rules than other players. 

    Apparently now he gets passes for taking cheap shots that concuss players when they are down on the ground and not able to defend themselves. White intercepted Tom Brady on a deep pass down the right sideline with less than five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, lying face-down on the ground to secure the ball. Gronkowski then ran and dove into him, driving his arm into the back of White’s helmet. Trainers assisted White to the sideline and, later, to the locker room.

    It was an egregious cheap hit and befitting of a sucker. But of course, Gronk wasn’t ejected for the flagrant hit and was allowed to remain in the game while White was taken in for evaluation. His reason for doing it was even weaker than the action itself. Here we have the biggest, strongest, most lethal target in football complaining about how hes being handled by a defensive player half his size. Gronkowski said he thought White should have been called for defensive pass interference.

    “At the top of the route, it felt like it was a big hole at the top, and then the throw was definitely, I mean, I felt like he kind of pushed me a little bit and made the play,” Gronkowski said. “I just don’t understand why there wasn’t a flag.”

    Sporting News on Twitter

    Rob Gronkowski apologizes for his late hit on @TreWhite16. @RaulNBCBoston https://t.co/Jp0P7hbAD3

    Sounds like a big baby whining to me. Truth is, Gronk was being defensed and being handled physically and was held, but instead of taking it to the refs, he targeted a defenseless player after the play was over. I guess because he isnt African-American, words such as “thug,” “cheapshot artist,” “sore loser” and “animal” dont apply to a guy who catches touchdowns for Tom Brady and didn’t grow up in the hood. 

    Gronk apologized after the game, but it sounds more like rationalizing about why he did it as opposed to being truly apologetic.   

    “I don’t believe in shots like that,” Gronkowski said. “I’m not in the business of that. It was a lot of frustration. At that moment, it happened naturally through emotions and frustration.”

    Maybe Gronk wasnt in the business of cheap shotting, but the world excusing his actions by way of privilege has him believing that he plays by a different standard than other players and his entire act is getting old. 

    Rob Gronkowski’s Legendary College Party House – CONAN on TBS

    Rob’s University of Arizona man-pad had everything, from a dish soap slip ‘n slide to a grody hot tub. More CONAN @ http://teamcoco.com/video Team Coco is the official YouTube channel of late night host Conan O’Brien, CONAN on TBS & TeamCoco.com.

    The deeper problem lies in the difference between how his actions are perceived and how the actions of Michael Crabtree and Aqib Talib were perceived. Crabtree and Talib were called an embarrassment to the game by many sports talking heads and initially given two-game suspensions for a scuffle in which nobody was injured. Gronk was just being Gronk” when he concussed White in what was one of the cheapest shots we have seen on a pro football field in a long time. There was no flag and a suspension isn’t written in stone. The politics never come into play when Gronk is concerned. 

    Gronk is in a safe zone because as a white player, his actions dont fit the narrative of the NFL being a bunch of out of control African-American players who don’t appreciate their country or the opportunity to play sports. Hes just a good ole’ boy on some Dukes of Hazzard stuff who never means no harm, is really passionate about the game and the goofy things he does on or off the field are just part of who he is. 

    Privilege. There’s no other way to explain it. 

    JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.