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Just Let Gronk Be Gronk

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This guy is a hater. So is he. So is she. Same goes for most of the media out there.

There are a lot of old, stuffy curmudgeons in this business, whose idea of a crazy night out includes ordering a beer with their Applebee’s 2 for $20.

And for some reason, they think the athletes they cover should lead the same lifestyle.

Rob Gronkowski doesn’t care what they think. And why should he? The Patriots tight end is the best in the business.

There was backlash a few weeks ago when he took his shirt off in a Las Vegas club and body slammed one of his boys to the ground. He also caught flak for sucking down some Bud heavies at an LSU party before the Super Bowl.

So what? Gronkowski apologized.

But he didn’t need to. Gronk is just being Gronk, and acting the same way almost every other rich, famous 23-year-old does. The difference is he doesn’t try to hide it.

Christopher L. Gasper’s argument was that Gronkowski’s party habits might lead to some serious incidents.

But they haven’t.

In Karen Guregian’s Boston Herald column, she said

“He probably wasn’t thinking about minicamp in June, or training camp in July” when dancing on that stage in Vegas. She went on to say Gronkowski probably wasn’t thinking about quarterback Tom Brady, coach Bill Belichick, team owner Robert Kraft or the New England fan base either.

And she’s probably right, because it’d be weird if he were thinking about all of that with Flosstradamus and 2 Chainz banging in the background.

To date, Gronkowski’s partying hasn’t landed him in trouble. No domestic disturbances. No DUIs. He hasn’t even been associated with a bar-room brawl.

That’s more than most of the NFL can claim.

On top of that, nobody has ever questioned his work ethic or passion for the game. He’s improved every year since entering the NFL in 2010, and the only thing that seems to be able to slow him down are injuries.

If Gronkowski’s partying were getting in the way of his football, surely somebody within that old-school Patriots organization would take a stand and say something. But the only word from his teammates came earlier this week team captain Logan Mankins basically said he had no problem with Gronkowski’s lifestyle. The veteran guard brushed it off and simply called his teammate a “big meathead that likes to party and play football.”

And there’s nothing wrong with that, so long as the former doesn’t interfere with the latter—which it hasn’t.

But for some reason, everything Gronkowski does is scrutinized. He can’t even take a take some pictures with a friend without the media making a big deal out of it.

For everyone shaking their finger in Gronkowski’s direction, think back to when you were 23. Fresh out of college, scrounging for a job, and partying like hell on the weekend.

Now imagine if you had more money than you knew what to do with? Don’t tell me you wouldn’t be out there Gronkin’ too.

Maybe it’s just that his pundits weren’t doing that. Maybe their idea of a good time has always involved a quiet night with a couple of close friends. But even if that is the case, don’t scold someone just because their idea of fun is more fun than yours.

Gronkowski is no different than most outgoing kids his age. And yes, I say kids because most 23-year-olds are not very grown up—minimal responsibilities, and their biggest priority in life still having fun.

And Gronkowski has a big leg up on everyone his age too, because nobody can say his biggest priority is having fun. The Patriots know what they’re doing, and they gave us 54 million reasons to the contrary.

This is the offseason, and a person can only work out for so many hours a day. And if an athlete wants to spend the rest of his day enjoying himself, don’t tell him how to do it.

Don’t be mad because Gronkowski is cooler than you.

At this point, I’m just waiting for him to drop a Harlem Shake video to put an exclamation point on the last month. But no matter how clean his version ends up, Gronkowski’s haters will probably find something wrong with that too.

Sam Good is TDdaily’s NFC West blogger. Follow him on Twitter @samgood.