Before the front-office wrist slap, Gronkowski could be the kind of star he is because his personality doesn’t appear to cost him anything. Men like Tim Tebow or Sanchez or Michael Vick don’t have the luxury of being as naturally “wow” as Gronkowski is. Their attempts at being carefree would smack of being careless. Gronkowski isn’t carrying a franchise or a region on his shoulders. He isn’t bearing the burdensome self-consciousness of blackness.

If nothing else, his behavior is an exclamatory rejection of heaviness and expectation, of those stupid, oppressive, and undying social institutions that he had nothing to do with creating or fostering and doesn’t want to uphold. He signifies certain privileges of whiteness — casual public nudity, being nationally celebrated for acting like a fool — without embracing them. Really, his race is just fun.