BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots are among the best in the NFL at ignoring the noise that constantly streams through to the world via social media. Twitter, especially, can be brutal and unforgiving for athletes to read if they hop on the popular social network after a loss or a subpar performance.
Denver Broncos wideout Emmanuel Sanders decided to lash out after his team lost to the Patriots on Sunday, discrediting the play of Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler in a tweet on Monday. Sanders likened Butler’s defensive play to his two-year-old son playing Cover-2 defense.
Patriots safety Devin McCourty was asked about Sanders’ mini-rant in an appearance on CSNNE’s “Quick Slants” with Tom E. Curran and former Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo. He gave Butler (and the team) the credit he deserved for his performance on Sunday, before throwing in a subtle dig at the Broncos at the end.
“Malcolm did what the game plan called up. There were times when he was out there and he was one-on-one with Emmanuel Sanders and he does what we expect him to do every week. To criticize his play probably shows more of what [Sanders] was receiving from Twitter and being out there, going on the internet and seeing people saying Malcolm Butler shut him down. Malcolm didn’t say anything after the game. … I think they’ve got more to worry about than what Malcolm Butler did.”
The Broncos reportedly got into a heated “offense vs. defense” shouting match sparked by cornerback Aqib Talib and tackle Russell Okung after the game on Sunday. Head coach Gary Kubiak told Lindsay Jones of USA Today that the incident was “not a big deal” and “just frustration” after a big loss.
Sanders’ tweet could be interpreted as simply an extension of that frustration for the 8-6 Broncos, who now find themselves fighting for their playoff lives.