By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Bill Belichick is having important conversations about recent events in the U.S., with a group of people that truly matters to him: his football team.
One group that certainly doesn't and shouldn't matter to the Patriots head coach is the Twitterati and its disciples. The #YourSilenceIsDeafening horde that gears up for a keyboard war with anyone who doesn't offer a sufficiently pandered statement on issues facing the country. Rabble-rousers who seem to believe the whole world is watching their tweets, even though only one out of every five U.S. adults (22 percent) uses Twitter in the first place.
Twitter is still perfect for news reporting, though. And Mike Giardi of the NFL Network is here to let the mob know that Belichick is taking a lead role in "open conversations about recent events" with the Patriots. One player told Giardi: "We couldn't do this without his leadership."
Giardi added that "some of the conversations about what African-American players had experienced in their lifetimes were eye opening to all corners of the locker room" and the conversations "made a great impact." In addition, Matthew Slater told NBC Sports Boston's Phil Perry on the Next Pats podcast: "I think coach has a good, healthy understanding of the gravity of the situation and the times that we are living in. I think he's done a good job of trying to listen, trying to learn, and hear from his players and try to navigate this as best as he can."
If you read some of the replies under Giardi's tweet (that's a tough addiction to kick) you'll see that people still found a way to vilify Belichick. Which is hilarious and perfectly encapsulates the Twitter experience. Nothing is ever good enough.
But you see, the players are the only people who really needed to hear from Belichick. The Patriots and their coaches should discuss the societal issues that have risen back to the forefront in America after George Floyd's death and the subsequent protests across the country. Players deserve to be heard about their experiences and a moment like this calls for voices and not silence - between actual people, not avatars.
As the top figure in the Patriots' football operation, Belichick is responsible for taking a lead role in facilitating such conversations. It's one reason you'll see why the Patriots are still the best-coached team in the NFL when football season begins.
But Belichick certainly didn't need to take a lead role in placating the packs of wolves on social media. He most definitely didn't need to publicize anything discussed with players behind the scenes. Not everyone needs to appease rotted Twitter brains with some words slapped on a graphic in order to effect change or unite the country. Not everyone needs to post a hashtag to prove to the mob that they care about or understand the issues.
Words don't do so much as actual action, anyway - like the Krafts' pledge to donate $1 million to various grassroots organizations. Or Belichick leading an actual discussion with his players, man to man. A real way to get human beings to understand each other.
Now is as big a time as ever to judge people for their actions rather than their words - or their tweets. Four out of five U.S. adults agree.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].