Deflate-Gate? Enough Gates, Already


I’ve been asked to write about Deflategate. In other words, I’m under pressure to talk about under-pressured footballs. And worse, yet, to call it Deflategate. No! I won’t do it. It might be a scandal. It might not. But whatever it is, it’s time to stop adding the word “gate” to every scandal, perceived or otherwise.

Are you with me? Can we just say enough “gates” already?

Yes, I stayed in the Watergate Hotel… in 1976. We came there for the bi-centennial and it was just a few years after “The” Watergate scandal. And it was cute and fresh and clever and… no, the rooms weren’t all that great but we were into the memory of the biggest political scandal of our lifetime. The Dear Wife and I had even written an overly sappy song to the tune of “These Are Some of my Favorite Things” going like this:
Erhlichman, Hald-e-man, McGruder, John Deannnn
All Nixon’s henchman, if you know what I mean…

And the rest I can’t remember. It was 39 years ago! Give me a break!

Anyway, thanks to New York Time’s columnist, William Safire, every scandal after that is followed by the suffix – gate. Damn you, William Safire!! And here’s the irony. Here’s the kicker. William Safire had been a speechwriter… FOR NIXON!! He did this to punish us for firing his boy. I think he’s laughing in his grave every time we add the word “Gate” to a scandal.

William Safire even admitted as much. He, personally, added the word – gate – to every scandal which came down the pike, no matter how minor and is credited with naming 21 “gates.” His most well known were Billygate (after Jimmy’s suaver brother, Billy Carter), Contragate, Debategate, Nannygate, Travelgate, Troopergate, Whitewatergate, and his personal favorite – Doublebillingsgate. Safire was tweaking us. He was psychologically trying to minimize Nixon’s crimes by adding the silliness of a gate suffix to every scandal. And we went for it. We bit hard. And not just here in the U.S., worldwide the “gate” idiocy took off.

Do I need to enumerate? Yes, I do. If that’s what it takes to get scandal-namers to drop the stupid suffix. I need to show what sheep you are, how many times William Safire has duped you into playing his stupid game. There have been over 130 “gates” and about 35 of them in sports (I count nipplegate – Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction – as both for entertainment and in sports). The scandal with the most different “gate” names was, of course, the Monica Lewinsky affair. Besides Monicagate, Lewinskygate, Zippergate, etc, my favorite among those was Tailgate.

Are you with me? Is it time to drop the Gates? You want to know how silly some of these sports scandals have become? There was a scandal called Sodagate, named so after Jason Kidd, with his Brooklyn Nets out of time outs, needed to talk to his team. So he whispered for a player to bump him so he could spill his Coca-Cola, forcing referees to stop the game for clean-up. This silly action led to Sodagate. Sodagate?! It shouldn’t have even been capitalized. It didn’t deserve more than a paragraph of a back sports page, yet, because a gate was attached, even we at Silliman on Sports were forced to write about it.

I’m not writing about deflated footballs. I’m looking forward to an exciting Superbowl, of which one team hails from Seattle. Which reminds me, hopefully, the Patriots’ computers will work fine and they’ll have no problems with their software. The last thing we need is a Gatesgate.

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