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Why We’re Rooting For The New England Patriots

By Fidel Martinez

As you already know, the New York Giants will face the New England Patriots at Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis two Sundays from now. As you also probably already know, there is one Latino on both rosters: Victor Cruz for the New York Giants and Aaron Hernandez (both have Puerto Rican roots). One of these two men will join Jim Plunkett and Tom Flores, legends in their own right, as the only Latinos to have won a Super Bowl.

So who are we rooting for? It’s a tough choice but we’re going with Aaron Hernandez and, by extension, the New England  Patriots.

via Julio Cesar Roman

At first glance, it makes sense to throw our support behind Victor Cruz. Cruz, after all, has the better on-field production (1,536 receiving yards and nine touchdowns in the 2011 regular season). On top of that, he also plays for New York, a city with a large Hispanic (largely Dominican and Puerto Rican) population. Oh yeah, and then there’s the whole salsa dancing thing (seriously, is there a Latino-oriented website out there that hasn’t made mention of this? Even Latina magazine has jumped on that bandwagon), which has been the greatest display of pride in one’s own culture we’ve seen in a long time.

On paper, Victor Cruz seems like the obvious choice. That’s only on paper though.

Aaron Hernandez might not have had the great statistical season that Cruz had, but he still did well, amassing 910 yards and seven touchdowns during the regular season. And while everyone’s talking about Cruz’s dancing moves, we’ve yet to see any Latino outlet mention the good work Hernandez is doing to help Latino youth in the New England area. The Patriots’ tight end spent part of the NFL lockout this summer speaking to kids at the Gardner Pilot Academy, a school whose students are 70% Latino and is aimed at bridging the achievement gap, to talk about the importance of mental health.

We realize that our logic is tenuous at best and that we can’t tell you who to root for (that tends to be decided by where you live and/or who your father/family roots for). But if you’re a casual observer with no vested interest in the outcome of the game, why not root for the guy who’s using his name recognition to shed light on important issues?*

Fidel Martinez is the managing editor of Tu Vez. He also happens to be a lifelong Dallas Cowboys fan, which has absolutely no bearing on the opinion expressed in this piece.

*This is not to say that Victor Cruz doesn’t care about issues that affect the Latino community. All we’re saying is that after a somewhat cursory search of Cruz’s involvement with Latino causes, we didn’t come across anything. Hopefully this will change in the near future.

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