Jerry Rice should make sure that the next time he criticizes anyone else, he's outside his glass house.
CBS Sports is reporting that Rice, widely considered the greatest wide receiver ever to play professional football, may have made a major faux pas while criticizing the New England Patriots for Deflategate.
Rice said, "I'm going to be point blank, I feel like it's cheating, because you have an edge up on your opponent and its unfortunate that it happened. I think you have to really put an asterisk on it, because this is going to follow them, you know, for the rest of their lives, because when you look at it, when people go back and they think about the New England Patriots, they're going to think about these controversies."
Later, ESPN revealed a video in which Rice stated he used stickum on his gloves while playing football.
"I know this might be a little illegal, guys, I just put a little spray, a little stickum on them, to make sure that texture is a little sticky."
Stickum, made by Mueller Sports Medicine of Prarie du Sac, Wisconsin, is an adhesive that comes in powder, paste, and adhesive forms. It was widely used in the NFL by wide receivers and defensive backs to gain an edge in catching footballs. Stickum was outlawed by the NFL in 1981. Rice joined the San Francisco 49ers in 1985.
NESN.com is doubting that Rice's use of stickum was the only reason he is an NFL Hall Of Famer and one of the most prolific receivers in NFL history. What comes out of this, though, is a quite hypocritical stance. Rice is basically saying that his version of cheating heightened his ability, but what the Patriots did was give themselves an unfair advantage in games.
Even Rice's defense of his use of stickum bears scrutiny.
Soon after the video was released, Rice tweeted to his followers, "I apologize ppl after doing my research about stickum! The NFL banned this in 1981. All players did it! #equalplayingfield."
Keeping that in mind, during the Deflategate investigation, many players, including 2014 NFL MVP Aaron Rogers, former quarterback Brad Johnson, among others, said that they prefer playing with footballs either overinflated or underinflated, depending on temperature, weather, and other factors. If Rice can condemn the Patriots of cheating while partially exonerating himself for using a banned material, and Rice says everyone was doing it, shouldn't that defense be made available to the Patriots after hearing from other NFL players?
[Image courtesy of ninerfans.com]