To NFL players saying Cam couldn’t get away with being like Gronk, you miss the point

So you think you can dance?

Christopher Muther (Boston Globe

To Gronk or not to Gronk? That is the question.

Stories of this weekend’s Gronk-fest aboard a cruise ship have flooded the Internet as New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and hundreds of his loyal Gronkians set sail for the Bahamas and "Gronk Island." It was a dream come true for the Patriots’ tight end (no really, he said so himself).

The Boston Globe even had a behind-the-scenes, all-access pass to the, umm, whatever it was they were doing — which, as with all things Gronk, everyone always seemingly shrugs at his apparently harmless act of (ahem) excess binge drinking and herky-jerky twerking.

One side effect of yet even more public Gronkstock shenanigans: A swell of anti-Gronk sentiment among a few NFL players, who openly wondered on Twitter why the white All-Pro can be Teflon to criticism off the field, when black Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton often gets heat for a little Dab on the field every now and then.

Ultimately when it comes down to the cruise-ship festivities, check the footage first and judge for yourself (or, if too racy for you, then try the Claymation version).

The topic came up on Tuesday’s episode of "The Herd", with host Colin Cowherd and guest Jason Whitlock debating whether a double-standard exists and if race colors reaction to Gronk. Whitlock, who is well known for discussing racial questions inside the world of sports, was quick to refute the racism angle when it comes to Gronkowski’s popularity despite his dance fever away from football.

"Gronk is no different than Charles Barkley . . . Barkley in his prime. He’s no different than Dennis Rodman. There are certain athletes and certain public figures that choose to live outside a conventional bubble of how you’re supposed to operate. Eventually the people who do that do it authentically, and we come to respect that and kind of have an affinity for them.  "And that’s where Gronk is operating right now. Eventually he may fall over the line if he keeps lending his name to party boats and something bad happens to him."

Cowherd agreed, saying "I don’t know why we keep going back to a race issue" and comparing the Gronk party persona to that of Rodman or Madonna.

Ultimately, Cowherd may have nailed the real reason why Gronk’s behavior — aside from never getting in legal trouble off the field or seeing his play negatively affected by the partying — is a non-issue for most fans, and even Bill Belichick.

"Cam Newton’s a quarterback. I don’t know why this is so difficult for people. We want our presidents to be presidential, and our quarterbacks to be quarterbackial."

To hear the full discussion, watch the video below.