Ever get the feeling that the commentator on TV likes the other team better?
After Tom Brady put up 406 yards and three touchdown in a 30-23 Patriots win, Jon Gruden raved about Brady while wearing a “TB12” hat. It was the same hate you can find on the official TB12 website, which lists 240 Patriot Place, Foxborough, Massachusetts as its address. Gruden then indicated that he had bought enzymes and protein powder from TB12 as well.
While wearing the TB12 hate, he passionately described Brady as “pliable,” which means “easily bent; flexible.” This does not make any sense, but it was meant as a compliment.
Brady and Gruden… Pliable. pic.twitter.com/FODFwbfMEI
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) December 13, 2016
Now, sports are not all that important, so we don’t have go too crazy over Gruden abandoning all appearance of objectivity, but it’s still kind of tacky. The whole game, as Gruden was in the booth analyzing the Ravens and Patriots, he had a hat tucked in his bag bearing the logo of one team’s starting quarterback. And by wearing the TB12 hat on the air, Gruden basically offered up free advertising for Brady, an athlete he was supposed to objectively cover.
TV personalities often don’t consider themselves journalists and therefore don’t feel a need to obey conventions of objectivity—after all, Gruden has called games coached by his own brother—but you’d think he could at least fake like he had no rooting interest. No one wants to listen to commentators who are supporting the other team, and by wearing a TB12 hat, Gruden at least created the perception that he was cheering hard for Mr. TB12 himself.