Is It Racist to Hate the New England Patriots Because They Have Too Many White Players? (Hint: Nope!)

Elsa/Getty Images
Elsa/Getty Images

You do not have to search very far to find good and moral reasons to hate the New England Patriots (also, to be clear, this is a sports hate, not a hate hate—hate hates are reserved for soggy chicken wings, cave crickets and Post Malone). In fact, you don’t have to search at all. If you’re sitting on a chair at a cubicle right now or standing in line at Einstein’s Bagels, “perfectly justifiable reasons to hate the New England Patriots” permeate the air and will bounce off your forehead like drops of sleet.


You can hate them because they’ve been caught cheating numerous times. You can hate them because they seem to receive a mysteriously generous amount of questionable refereeing in their favor. You can hate them because they’re from Boston, which is notorious for possessing the most insufferable (and insufferably racist) sports fans (and people).

You can hate them because their owner, coach and star quarterback are unabashed “MAGA” bots. You can hate them because they’re really fucking good and they’ve been really fucking good for 15 years despite never really being dominant. I’ve never seen a team that, along with being great, also frequently got so damn lucky, and you can hate them for that. You can hate them because Tom Brady is Scientologist-adjacent. If you want to be petty, you can hate them because Robert Kraft is low-key ugly.

And yes, it is fine to hate them because Bill Belichick seems to possess a white-skill-position-player generator. Wes Walker. Rob Gronkowski. Danny Woodhead. Chris Hogan. Julian Edelman. Danny Amendola. Rex Burkhead. THESE ARE NOT THE NAMES OF REAL PEOPLE! THESE ARE THE NAMES OF PEOPLE CREATED BY A WHITE-SKILL-POSITION GENERATOR. Besides New England, there are, like, three white running backs and receivers in the NFL total. The Patriots, however, have 952 of them.

This cannot be a coincidence. It just can’t. If you ordered a pepperoni pizza for a party and you opened the box and saw that one slice had 95 pepperonis while the other seven slices had five total, you’d suspect something was up—that the pizza-maker wanted one person to have all the pepperoni. You don’t know why the pizza-maker made this arbitrarily specific decision, but you know a decision was made. SOMEONE IN NEW ENGLAND IS MAKING THE DECISION TO REFRESH THE BATTERIES FOR THE WHITE-SKILL-POSITION GENERATOR.

And then, when you have an unusual number of white players on a team—football and basketball particularly—the way they’re talked about changes. Words like “grit” and “hardworking” and “intelligent” find their way into the columns and comments and news stories about them. They’re “good locker-room guys” and “coaches on the field.” They “hustle” and they possess an unlimited amount of “guile” and “toughness.” Their “work ethics” are impeccable because they’re true “students of the game.”

Never mind that Gronkowski is basically white LeBron. And by “white LeBron” I mean “Frankenstein.” Or that Danny Woodhead ran a 4.3-second 40. If they’re white athletes, they’re succeeding because of their smarts and their character.


So yes. Hate away. Hate to your heart’s content. Drink a hate smoothie and garnish it with some hateful cilantro. Because even if these things weren’t true, you can’t be racist against white people, so this entire piece is based on a rhetorical question!

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)



I wouldn’t insult LeBron like that, since Gronkowski makes him look like a Rhodes Scholar by comparison. Gronk may be the meatiest meathead who ever meated. I was going to attach a clip or gif but couldn’t settle on just one.