Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports

Bill Belichick uses 'fake news' barb to dismiss reports about tension with Alex Guerrero

Alex Reimer
December 22, 2017 - 1:19 pm

Bill Belichick’s fawning endorsement letter to Donald Trump included a strong barb at the “unbelievably slanted and negative media.” Trumpian language aside, the line should not have been a surprise, given Belichick’s bitter interactions with some members of the press over the years. 

With that background in mind, it only seems natural for Belichick to dismiss the press in similar fashion to his pal Trump. Whenever the Patriots coach is questioned about his reported feud with Tom Brady’s close associate, Alex Guerrero, he dismisses the stories as “fake news.”

Belichick explicitly used that term last month on “Dale and Holley with Keefe,” when he was asked about ESPN’s report of an approaching clash between him and Guerrero. In a feature about Brady, ESPN the Magazine’s Seth Wickersham quoted a friend close to Belichick who predicted a “collision” was coming between the two sides. Belichick, reportedly, had grown tired of Guerrero blaming the Patriots’ training staff for his clients’ injuries.

Despite Wickersham’s source, Belichick shot down the story.

"I am not really sure if there’s a specific question here," he said. "I mean, as usual, I think a lot of comments in the article you’re referring to were unattributed to anybody, if I am not mistaken. I don’t think anybody said anything. This is just a general random opinion about I am not sure exactly what. If we would like to talk about somebody who has an informed opinion about something that is one thing, I mean otherwise we’re just talking about a lot of fake news here about just putting out a lot of things that are unattributable. As usual. I’d say we get a lot of that.”

Since the Wickersham piece, speculation has increased about a possible Belichick-Guerrero rift. The Boston Globe’s Bob Hohler seemingly confirmed the hearsay this week, writing Guerrero is now barred from the team’s chartered plane and sidelines and can only treat Brady in his Gillette Stadium office. Hohler’s story is based off the account of unnamed sources.

Channeling Trump, Belichick accused Hohler of spreading unfounded accusations.

“Yeah, this is another [story] with no sources, right? I’m not going to get into that," Belichick said, per WEEI's Ryan Hannable. "Yeah, they were not mentioned.”

In stark contrast to Trump, Belichick would not confirm or deny whether Guerrero’s access has been restricted. And therein lies the big difference between the two men. Belichick possesses discipline, which is why he’s able to suppress stories. Trump, meanwhile, must engage.

The strategies start similarly, but take radically different turns.