"I didn't make him look pretty enough"
August 16, 2015 2:08 AM   Subscribe

After a courtroom artist drew a less-than-flattering sketch of Tom Brady, the Twitterverse turned it into Internet Gold.

The artist says she has since received "a gazillion nasty emails" from Brady's fans.

But why do we rely on courtroom artists to begin with? In part, because of prohibitions on cameras in federal courtrooms.
posted by heisenberg (49 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
I like it. It's the work of an artist, not a police mug-shot taker.
posted by oheso at 2:23 AM on August 16, 2015 [25 favorites]


I know in the UK you are not actually allowed to draw / paint / pastel in the court - you have to do it from memory (and notes) and to very tight deadlines. I presume it's the same here, so feel a bit sorry for Rosenberg.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:59 AM on August 16, 2015


a less-than-flattering-accurate sketch of Tom Brady
posted by eyeballkid at 3:00 AM on August 16, 2015 [2 favorites]




NPR's reporting on Internet Gold from the Twitterverse fills the gaping void in my heart that The Tonight Show with Jay Leno left.
posted by psychobum at 3:12 AM on August 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


This whole thing keeps bringing out the worst in people, like when the governor wore the wrong "Free Brady" t-shirt at an ALS fundraising event.

Also, how idiotic is it that there are "Free Brady" t-shirts?

And how did this even get before a judge so fast? And why did they even need a courtroom artist?
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:32 AM on August 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


One of the sports talk hosts in Philly was talking about how he loved it, it's a picture of Brady without the glitz and the supermodel wife, and how it's like a glimpse of what Tom Brady's soul is like. Which is probably how everybody in a sports city that lost a Super Bowl to Brady feels on the matter.
posted by graymouser at 4:39 AM on August 16, 2015 [13 favorites]


Is it just me or does Brady just look a little deflated?
posted by srboisvert at 5:26 AM on August 16, 2015 [40 favorites]


Augh, boo. :p
posted by Night_owl at 5:35 AM on August 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


And how did this even get before a judge so fast?

The suspension officially starts in 25 days -- the Patriots, in fact, have the very first game of the season on Thursday, September 10th. If it didn't get before a judge this fast, it would be essentially moot by the time it did, because a judge could give Brady his money back, but couldn't change the results of the games. And even if it were decided on September 24th, it is to the Patriots' and Brady's detriment not to know who their starting quarterback will be for that game as soon as possible, so if the suspension should be overturned, it should be overturned as soon as possible.

Also, there's a lot of money riding on every NFL game, so it behooves a lot of other people to get it cleared up early.

Goodell delenda est.
posted by Etrigan at 5:43 AM on August 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, there's a lot of money riding on every NFL game, so it behooves a lot of other people to get it cleared up early.

So having lots of money on the line gives you privileged access to civil court. Everyone else just has to wait months before they even get to hear a judge say "LOL! Have you tried mediation yet?"
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:21 AM on August 16, 2015 [24 favorites]


No. If timeliness matters you get to the judge.
posted by JPD at 6:22 AM on August 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


As an Indianapolis Colts fan, the schadenfreude is pretty enjoyable. This whole deflate-gate thing was so stupid on the part of Brady and the Patriots. For the game that started this whole thing, they didn't have to cheat to win. We were playing terribly that day and would have almost certainly lost fair and square. But since they decided to cheat, we'll never really know. More importantly, Tom Brady now gets the Lance Armstrong treatment. His every action will be scrutinized and second-guessed. As one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, he was already a shoo-in for the hall of fame. Was winning one game worth tarnishing that reputation?
posted by double block and bleed at 6:25 AM on August 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Was winning one game worth tarnishing that reputation?

You think it just happened once?

Goodell delenda est.
posted by Etrigan at 6:30 AM on August 16, 2015 [11 favorites]


Honest question: what is the point of these drawings anyway? It seems like such an anachronism.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 6:55 AM on August 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Honest question: what is the point of these drawings anyway?

The attitude of news organizations is still very much "Pics or it didn't happen." Running a drawing feels more "We were there!" than running a picture of Brady walking into the courtroom.

Goodell delenda est.
posted by Etrigan at 7:10 AM on August 16, 2015


How has this not been combined with Beast Christ yet?
posted by Navelgazer at 7:12 AM on August 16, 2015


navelgazer: 5th image in the 1st link.
posted by yeolcoatl at 7:18 AM on August 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


So having lots of money on the line gives you privileged access to civil court. Everyone else just has to wait months before they even get to hear a judge say "LOL! Have you tried mediation yet?"

Yes, actually. If one side would win by simple delay, the courts will make sure to bring the case forward to give the other side a fair hearing in court or issue a stay, if a stay is workable.

But in many cases, a stay causes more harm.

This whole deflate-gate thing was so stupid on the part of Brady and the Patriots

Except it's come out that there's absolutely no evidence whatsoever that the Patriots or Brady cheated in any way, shape or form. NONE of the balls were under the spec under any provable measures. The tweet that started all of this, that 11 of the 12 balls were 1 1/2 PSI under?

It was a *lie* by the NFL. It was 11 of the 12. It was NONE. The NFL leaked a lie. The texts between the equipment managers? They're bitching because Brady didn't like the balls. They never said why, but there are dozens of reasons why. This is not proof. This is two guys bitching.

You want to know who to blame? The NFL for a stupid system that didn't even have a calibrated gauge to tell them if a ball is in spec! Here's my legal argument. "Your Honor, without a calibrated gauge, there was no way for the NFL to determine if the footballs were at the proper pressure, therefore, any punishment based on that is improper." Because if you think digital gauges are always right, you clearly haven't measured them against calibrated ones.

And, again, there's a *stated penalty for an illegal football in the rulebooks* -- $25,000 fine, replacement of football. But, again, without a calibrated gauge to determine if the ball was at pressure, either *every* football used last year must be presumed to be at the proper pressure, or *every* football used must be presumed to not be at the proper pressure and every QB who snapped a ball owes the NFL $25K per game they snapped a ball.

The Wells report then spent millions proving nothing. The whole suspension now is "We're made because Brady didn't grovel" and the NFL has been leaking shit -- shit which keeps getting disproved -- because they're desperately trying to cover up just how badly they fucked this up.

I hate the Patriots. Bears fan born and bread. But dude, this is a snow job by the NFL. Everyone pissed because New England keeps winning.

But seriously, look at that division? It's the AFC Tire Fire East. You have the Bills, the only 0-4 team in Super Bowl History, who've only gotten worse from there, the Dolphins, who've been mired in mediocrity for years, and then, OMG, the team who's best QB in the last 20 years has been Mark Sanchez, the Jets. The team that thought Tim Tebow was an answer. The team that thought Rex Ryan was an answer. The team that though Geno Smith was an answer. The team that may have literally caught gangrene.

YOU would keep winning the division if you had six games against the Dolphins, Bills and Jets every year! That's the real secret of the Patriots. They're the only tire in that tire fire that isn't burning.
posted by eriko at 7:29 AM on August 16, 2015 [34 favorites]


But dude, this is a snow job by the NFL. Everyone pissed because New England keeps winning.

This isn't the NFL being pissed at the Patriots winning -- this year's Super Bowl was the most-watched ever, the team is consistently near the top of merchandise sales (which benefit everyone), and Bob Kraft was Roger Goodell's bestie for years while the Patriots were curb-stomping the AFC East and rolling into the playoffs every year without fail.

This is the NFL being pissed at being stonewalled at the beginning and going too far, and then being stonewalled again because they were going too far, et cetera et cetera, and now Goodell knows that he fucked up, but he feels like the Patriots have told him "Fuck you, we're the Patriots and you don't have the balls to do shit to us," and it snowballed into him (and his people) going apeshit. He can't back down now, or else the rest of the owners will think he's letting Kraft get away with it.

Goodell delenda est.
posted by Etrigan at 7:47 AM on August 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


the Bills, the only 0-4 team in Super Bowl History
Vikings.
posted by librosegretti at 8:06 AM on August 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


I think the work shows skill. Too bad people have be Nelson-holes about it.

I think there should be more hand drawn art, not less.
posted by Annika Cicada at 8:25 AM on August 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


Honest question: what is the point of these drawings anyway?

In media, when you're trying to get people to read your articles, it helps immeasurably to have relevant images to include. Some courtrooms don't allow photographs but will allow sketch artists -- this is the case in Canadian courtrooms -- so the media runs the drawings. It must be an interesting, and sometimes gruelling, job. I remember reading a reporter's account of the Paul Bernardo trial which included the detail that the sketch artist was crying and having to hold her sketch pad at an angle that would keep her tears from falling on her work.
posted by orange swan at 8:29 AM on August 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Here's the story
Of a man named Brady
He's a lousy lying cheating bum...

/Giants fan
posted by jonmc at 8:30 AM on August 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Except it's come out that there's absolutely no evidence whatsoever that the Patriots or Brady cheated in any way, shape or form.

Under the terms of the collective bargaing agreement "negotiated" by the NFLPA, none of that matters. Goodell is the arbiter, and also the appellate arbiter. The NFLs argument is that the Judge here doesn't even have the authority to look at the underlying evidence, and is required to afford "extreme deference" to Goodell's findings of fact, under the terms of the arbitration agreement included in the CBA. They have a metric shitload of case law on their side, as access to the courts is being extremely curtailed in favor of binding arbitration. Brady and the Pats are drawing dead here, thanks to the shitty negotiating by the NFLPA.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:30 AM on August 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Brady and the Pats are drawing dead here, thanks to the shitty negotiating by the NFLPA.

Except they aren't, because Goodell is beholden to the owners, and he's pissing off his allies in the owner's group, like Kraft.

And pretty much every time the NFLPA has gone to court agains the NFL in a CBA agreement, they win, because the NFL is dumb.

Oh, and, of course.

Goodell delenda est.
posted by eriko at 9:23 AM on August 16, 2015


"I didn't make him look pretty enough"


I have the same problem when people take pictures of me.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:27 AM on August 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


What I find hilarious about all of this is that there's a strong likelihood that this artist has never -- not once -- been criticized by anyone regarding the verisimilitude of any sketch they have ever done.

More like, can you draw a figure that is recognizably human? Is it kinda close to the right colors and shapes? Do you work fast and cheap? Great, you're hired!

I mean, what does Random Criminal #236 really look like? Have you seen lots of photos of them before? Be honest -- would you care if Random Criminal #236 was accidentally made to look like a hobgoblin?

But this time, it's a celebrity, and everyone has seen thousands of photos and videos of him. Hell, he's literally a clothing model on top of being a football star. This time, the artist gets sideswiped by the fact that any average Joe can look at this and go, that ain't even close.

If you disagree with me ... do you really think a bureaucracy barely a step above the DMV has a skilled art director on staff with a high quality bar? Do you really think they'd reject anything the artist turned in? Because they sure didn't here...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:56 AM on August 16, 2015


do you really think a bureaucracy barely a step above the DMV has a skilled art director on staff with a high quality bar?

Courtroom sketch artists are hired by media, not the courts.
posted by Etrigan at 10:36 AM on August 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


The article crops down the original picture to focus Tom Brady, which is more than a little unfair. He's more of a background character in the full picture. The same article in the New York Times also links an older article featuring a sketch by the same artist of Robert De Niro which is quite good.

I think the sketch that includes Brady does a good job of capturing a mood in the room, even if the likeness of Brady isn't very flattering.
posted by jimw at 11:08 AM on August 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


I love courtroom sketch art. It's such a strange, difficult, marvelous merging of art and the law. I'm 100% with the movement for cameras in courtrooms, but it makes me sad we would lose this odd little old-fashioned holdover.
posted by sallybrown at 11:16 AM on August 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


fearfulsymmetry: " I presume it's the same here, so feel a bit sorry for Rosenberg."

Generally you can do it in the courtroom in the US, and -- fun fact -- they reserve front-row seats for courtroom artists in big cases. Media gets the second row, behind the artists. There are rules -- often very strict ones -- about depicting the jury (which is also why phones and cameras are often forbidden -- people have used cameras to take pictures of juries so, say, a mob boss's cohorts can target the jury members and threaten them so they vote "not guilty.") Courtroom artists work with a very limited set of tools to hand (they can be thrown out of court if they're a distraction) so they often have only a few colors or only a few thicknesses of pencil. (Some touch them up afterwards, some do not.) Generally they are trying to capture a particular brief moment, or the demeanor and facial expressions of the principles in the case, so they have to sketch fast, and the two dominant schools seem to me to be capturing the planes of the face very quickly, or drawing the outline of the profile very quickly. (This seems like a plane-drawing artist.) Most very large new organizations (NYTimes, NBC) still have a courtroom sketch artist on staff; otherwise it's primarily freelance work.

Here's some examples by different artists.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:33 AM on August 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


An interesting aspect of this to me is that a sketch can be much more accurate than a photo. What I notice when I see celebrities in person is how gaunt they mostly are. Sometimes the camera turns a bony face into a pretty one.
posted by idiopath at 1:08 PM on August 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't really get the hullaballoo; that Brady guy's always sort of looked like he was poorly Frankensteined out of parts harvested from good-looking people.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:11 PM on August 16, 2015


I have been seeing this story around and just glancing at it, and I thought the guy in the middle of the image (who looks nothing at all like Brady) was supposed to be Brady - so I agreed, that's a real bad drawing. But now I see which one is actually supposed to be him -- and by comparison, hey, the one that's actually supposed to be Brady looks a lot more like him. Or, the parts are all plausible Brady face parts.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:15 PM on August 16, 2015


It is going to be impossible to draw Brady as football fans see him unless you have seen a lot of football players and know that he is pretty faced, at least in comparison to the mean of football player facial features. Bill Simmons (who is a huge Brady fan) is always giving him shit in print about growing up with three older sisters and no brothers. If you don't draw a pretty Brady nobody is going to recognize him because the people who watch him the most are used to seeing that.
posted by bukvich at 1:22 PM on August 16, 2015


The Amy Winehouse one is amazing

LACES! OUT!
posted by 3urypteris at 1:53 PM on August 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


the terms of the collective bargaing agreement "negotiated" by the NFLPA, none of that matters

From what I understand, a large part of the NFLPA's argument will be simply that under the terms of the CBA, a player cannot be fined for this violation; equipment violations are team fines and punishments, and suspending a player for them violates the CBA. The NFL's case is laughable, and its basis for its punishment is arbitrary.

Not a Patriots fan, but man, I hope that the PA beats that smarmy Goodell, and maybe they can be energized to negotiate a proper CBA. So that, for example, player contracts cannot be unilaterally torn up by management, or that there isn't one person who just makes up the rules as he goes along.
posted by mhz at 3:30 PM on August 16, 2015


What I find hilarious about all of this is that there's a strong likelihood that this artist has never -- not once -- been criticized by anyone regarding the verisimilitude of any sketch they have ever done.

Yeah. This looks just like every other court room sketch (I thought they were drawings) I've ever seen. I pretty much thought it was the style of such art. That people are actually upset says a lot about them.
posted by juiceCake at 4:05 PM on August 16, 2015


Tom Brady as a gargoyle. C'mon, Hilarious.
posted by theora55 at 4:07 PM on August 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Circ─ź Goodell delenda est.

FQPV
posted by MikeKD at 4:07 PM on August 16, 2015


The sketch is clearly something like the portrait of Dorian Gray: it shows the inner soul and every deflated ball. Someone badly needs to be keeping an eye on the original, seeing if it gets more horrific as the season progresses. In fact, as soon as anyone else complains about deflated balls, the sketch should be the first thing consulted: the more horrific it is, the more validity the complaint has. And all without needing gauges or anything like that on the field!
posted by lesbiassparrow at 4:17 PM on August 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Under the terms of the collective bargaing agreement "negotiated" by the NFLPA, none of that matters. Goodell is the arbiter, and also the appellate arbiter. The NFLs argument is that the Judge here doesn't even have the authority to look at the underlying evidence, and is required to afford "extreme deference" to Goodell's findings of fact, under the terms of the arbitration agreement included in the CBA. They have a metric shitload of case law on their side, as access to the courts is being extremely curtailed in favor of binding arbitration. Brady and the Pats are drawing dead here, thanks to the shitty negotiating by the NFLPA.

I have to ask, are you reading the actual briefs from both sides and following posts by informed third party lawyers on the matter, or is this judgement based on what you've heard from a sports journalist or talk radio?

My impression from spending much too much time following this whole story is that lawyers studying the story from afar (i.e. with an understanding of this as a generic arbitration appeal) tend to side with the NFL's side, which echo what you are pretty much arguing. But lawyers following the case in detail tend to be persuaded by the NFLPA's specific arguments, which point to ways that the entire process including the appeal violated the specifics of the CBA and the "law of the shop", the precedents set by previous decisions.

There is also the bigger underlying issue that even though the CBA may allow the issue to potentially be arbitrated by Goodell, the law still requires the arbitrator to be neutral. The arbitrator is allowed to make mistakes of fact; the arbitrator is even allowed to make mistakes of law. But as I understand it, the arbitrator is not allowed to make decisions based on issues outside of the CBA. Otherwise, it would be perfectly legal for the arbitrator to make a decision based on nothing besides "I favor the side that promises me the most money".

I mean, is your position really "if the NFLPA wants to prevent their members from potentially being railroaded at any time for any reason without recourse, they should be prepared to give up a significant part of their paycheck at the next CBA negotiations"? Because if the NFL wins this round, this is basically what will happen.
posted by Harvey Byrd at 5:50 PM on August 16, 2015


As an Indianapolis Colts fan, the schadenfreude is pretty enjoyable.

As a native Baltimorean, to hell with you.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:17 PM on August 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Brady love Chunk!
posted by triage_lazarus at 7:39 PM on August 16, 2015


yeolcoatl: ha! That image didn't load the first time I checked that link. Thanks!
posted by Navelgazer at 1:36 PM on August 18, 2015


The judge has taken pity on Brady's hideousness and vacated the suspension.
posted by Etrigan at 7:53 AM on September 3, 2015




“The Tom Brady Decision Is a Win for Anyone With a Job,” Charles P. Pierce, Esquire Politics Blog, 04 September 2015
posted by ob1quixote at 2:36 PM on September 4, 2015


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