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Gronkowski gets some heat in New England for partying in Las Vegas

ESPN The Magazine's "NEXT" Event

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 01: NFL player Rob Gronkowski attends ESPN The Magazine’s “NEXT” Event at Tad Gormley Stadium on February 1, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for ESPN)

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For the second consecutive year, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is getting some criticism for a post-Super Bowl party.

Last year, the criticism was that Gronkowski’s post-Super Bowl partying called into question how much he cared about the fact that his team had just lost. This year, there’s criticism coming from Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald about a TMZ video showing Gronkowski dancing shirtless in a Las Vegas club and playfully wrestling with a friend.

The headline atop the Herald‘s sports page is, “Grow Up, Gronk,” and Guregian’s column rips Gronkowski for showing insufficient commitment.

“Gronkowski was using his recently re-repaired broken left forearm to help hoist his friend up and over. According to a source close to Gronk, he didn’t appear to do any more harm to the forearm, which was in a long black cast,” Guregian writes. “But you still have to sit back and wonder what he was thinking. He probably wasn’t thinking about minicamp in June, or training camp in July. Because taking a chance with that arm and yet another setback puts him at risk for getting back with his team in time for those camps.”

I agree with Guregian that Gronkowski probably wasn’t thinking about minicamp in June while he was at a Vegas party in February, but I disagree that that’s a reflection of Gronkowski’s commitment to winning. During the offseason, players get time off. As long as he’s not breaking any laws or violating the terms of his contract, Gronkowski is free to do what he wants in the offseason.

Gronkowski is a 23-year-old guy who likes to go out and have a good time. His shirtless dancing may look silly to those of us who are too old to party at a Vegas nightclub into the wee hours of the morning, but he didn’t hurt anyone and he didn’t hurt himself, and therefore he doesn’t deserve any criticism for the way he lives his personal life.