Photo: AP

Rob Gronkowski is on the cover of Madden 17, and he currently isn’t playing football. Those two circumstances mean that he’s up for practically any media coverage. Gronk’s also the GQ cover story for June; Devin Friedman followed him around to see if the walking direct-to-DVD American Pie sequel would say anything worthy of a pull quote. He did!

Advertisement

Then I ask him what his signature sex move is. Why? I don’t know, really. I thought it was funny. “Hmm.” He thinks for a while. Then he has an idea. “Jacking off!” He loves that. “You gotta write that one! That was great.”

“Jacking off!” Rob Gronkowski says. Classic.

Advertisement

I’m not tired of Gronkowski’s escapades, capers, or even hijinks, but it does seem that the interviews he’s giving aren’t covering new ground. Does off-the-field Gronk even have any new ground to cover? He still likes having a good time, taking off his shirt more than the average person, and “Party Rock Anthem” even though the song’s five years old, right? Good enough.

(Like driving after drinking, the only safe strategy for a Gronk interview at this point is giving it time. It’d be intriguing to see if 30-year-old Gronk is sad, mature, or something else, but who’s realistically going to pass up a chance now?)

Gronk talking about how funny it would be to answer a question with “jacking off” is the second-funniest answer he gives. The first is this:

Sponsored

“Chicken is so good!” Gronk says. “So lean.”

Yum.

Advertisement

Advertisement

The NFL tight end is always flanked by a guy named Goon—or one of his other goons—throughout the piece, and everything seems quite rehearsed. In the GQ article, Gronk discloses that his drink of choice is vodka and water, which elicits incredulity from the writer:

“Vodka and water, with a lemon or a splash of cranberry. But it puts the water in you while you’re drinking. Vodka water, so you’re getting your fluids.”

Gronk had already talked about that last summer:

“My drink is usually vodka with water because it gets you hydrated and drunk at the same time,” he explains after the sommelier has departed. “I never drink wine. There’s only one wine I like, but I forget what it’s called. It tastes like Sprite.”

There is one scene where the reader maybe gets a peek at Real Gronk. A fan with a grating Boston accent—the author doesn’t describe it as grating, but I’m going to jump to that conclusion—asks Gronk for a photo, and his friends explain that he can’t do that. The woman calls the Patriot an asshole and leaves, and Real Gronk emerges:

Advertisement

Gronk looks at me. It’s the first time I see a helpless expression on his face. A pained expression. This is what brings Gronk low. He doesn’t understand it, really. This ownership people feel they have over him. It’s unusual, even for a famous athlete. It may be because Rob broadcasts an image of availability, of ease and lack of airs. People walk in feeling like they already know him and have been invited to party shirtless with him. And that’s when slings/arrows appear. “My pet peeves are people touching me a lot,” he says. “Random dudes grabbing me and slapping me across the back. They’re not doing it on purpose, but it’s like they forget I’m a person. But you can’t do anything about it. What are you going to do?

“People misunderstand who I truly am,” he says. “Truly who I am. If I go somewhere, people just think I’m a party boy 24/7. Like, it’s a Monday night and I walk into a restaurant and people start handing me shots. I’m like, Yo, I’m in season right now. I just played a game, I can hardly walk.

Gronk only pawn in game of life. Just wait until you get older, man.

[GQ]