New England Patriots: The Patriot Way Is Dead and Gone

Michael ChristinaContributor IIIMay 17, 2013

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 16:   Kyle Love #74 of the New England Patriots celebrates a sack in the first half against the Dallas Cowboys on October 16, 2011 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The ‘Patriot Way’ is a saying that has been touted in New England for a very long time now. It has been the moniker in which the organization has built itself upon.

But it seems like that saying is just that these days. It’s just a saying.

Defensive tackle Kyle Love was released by the New England Patriots this week due to a recent diagnosis of Type-2 Diabetes. He was given two options by the organization. Love could either retire for a year or be released.

Let’s forget the fact that he was a solid player for the team and a key run-stopper next to Vince Wilfork on the defensive line. This goes beyond just letting a good player go.

This is simply sleazy. There is no way around it.

I love Bill Belichick. I credit the man fully for creating a winning culture for the team of my childhood and ultimately building one of the most successful professional sports programs this region has ever seen.  He is the reason why this team is what it is today.

But this is absolutely disgraceful. It’s almost a guarantee that he will come out at one point and say he was just doing what he thought was best for the team. Still, it feels like at this point the image of Belichick around the country that Pats fans have tried to dispute for years is non-disputable anymore.

This is the same guy that was behind Spygate. He’s the same guy that cut a kid the night before the Super Bowl. Add this recent indiscretion to the resume and the evil genius is starting to look more evil than anything else.

It’s hard to pinpoint when everything began to turn in this direction, but I’ll take an educated guess that it might have something to do with the 2007 season. Not only did Belichick’s football integrity come into question that year, but his team blew a shot at perfection and quite possibly being the greatest squad of all time. And let’s not forget that he would’ve been in the same category as Lombardi with a victory over the Giants in Super Bowl XLII.

It almost feels like ever since that point he has deteriorated into a character that can only be compared to Gollum from The Lord of the Rings. He lost his precious and now he will do anything he has to in order to get it back.

There is no possible football justification for cutting a guy simply because he has diabetes. I’m sure that there will be people who will argue that Love could have possibly not been ready for the beginning of this season. There will be others that will blame Love and say he did this to himself by not properly taking care of himself.

So let’s come at it from another angle. As stated previously, Kyle Love primarily played next to Vince Wilfork. Wilfork has been praised not only for his play on the field and his leadership in the locker room, but also for his charitable work off the field and the fact that he’s fought through stiff adversity in his life to become the man he is today.

What adversity you ask?  Wilfork lost both of his parents in a span of six months in 2002 during his sophomore year while attending the University of Miami. His father specifically passed away due to kidney failure after battling diabetes for many years. The love he had for his dad has resonated into a successful charity that he has put together called The Vince Wilfork Foundation. The purpose of the foundation is to support diabetes research, support education and awareness, and to support organizations taking care of people with diabetes.

And you cut the guy directly playing next to this man because he’s been diagnosed with diabetes? It’s absolutely deplorable and quite frankly shameful.

Like I said before, I love Bill Belichick. But the old image of the classy and team-first organization is completely gone after this latest transgression. Teams stick with each other through good times and bad. They don’t bail on one of their own at the first sign of adversity.

With that being said, can anyone truly blame Wes Welker for trying to make a stand against this man? At a certain point it’s not about the money anymore. It’s about the principle. And quite frankly it’s hard to decipher Belichick’s principles these days. Everything is done under the umbrella of what is best for the team. But is it really? Or has this just become a heartless man’s quest to prove to the world that he is the greatest coach of all time at any cost?

Whatever the case may be, this team does not have the same feeling around it that it did when it was coming out as a team at Super Bowl XXXVI. Something has been lost along the way. And it’s a shame.

Patriots fans were proud of the organization just a few weeks ago for sending retired offensive lineman Joe Andruzzi to the 2013 NFL Draft. He was a representation of not only the city of Boston’s strength after the Marathon bombings, but a team that truly gets what it is to be a part of a community and one that carries itself with class and dignity.

And then they cut a kid with diabetes. That’s a great way to keep the good will going guys.

The ‘Patriot Way’ used to be something that fans could be proud of. It’s gone now, though. And to be honest it doesn’t look like it’s coming back anytime soon. The myth has perished and you can’t tell me otherwise. Smeagol is dead, and in his place Gollum rules. So for fans all we can do is hope that he will finally get that ring he has so desperately desired before he ultimately dives into the inferno that awaits him after football.

It’s harsh, I know. But so is cutting a guy with diabetes.