Sports of The Times: Why Do Fans Excuse the Patriots’ Cheating Past?

So the pre-Super Bowl chatter marches on, focusing on Belichick’s genius, even though he was fined a half-million dollars for videotaping opposing coaches in 2007, or Brady’s brilliance, even though he was suspended for the first four games of the season after being accused of using deflated footballs.

To the Patriots and their fans, ignoring the negatives is just a way to protect the team and the legitimacy of their sport, DeSteno said, adding that in doing so, the Patriots and their supporters are not unlike any other group and its followers.

“It’s not about the true facts, or about how honest you believe a group is, or what the group’s past behavior is,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what sport it is, or what team it is, or even if it’s sports at all. Just being a part of a group, any group, is enough to excuse moral transgressions because in some way, you’re benefiting from it. Your moral compass shifts.”

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