Tom Brady Refuses to Distance Himself From His Pal Donald Trump
We’re not asking much of you, Tom.
You’re seen as a demigod around these parts. Without hyperbole, you are worshipped every Sunday and obsessed over each day in between. Kids look up to you. Hell, full-grown adults look up to you. Your likeness on a Fenway billboard is the only reason a Masshole would ever even vaguely consider working a pair of Uggs into his billowy dress shirt/blue-jeans/Dunkin’ double-cup ensemble.
So when someone with as much clout as you refuses to take a stand against someone who has tirelessly advocated for hate, it’s all that much more disappointing.
During his weekly appearance on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan, Brady was asked if he still supports Donald Trump, even after the Republican presidential frontrunner called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the U.S. Previously on the show, Brady gave a tacit endorsement of Trump after one of his “Make America Great Again” hats was spotted in the Patriots quarterback’s locker.
“Can I just stay out of this debate?” Brady said. “Donald is a good friend of mine. I’ve known him for a long time. I support all my friends, that’s what I have to say. He’s a good friend of mine, he’s always been so supportive of me.”
Brady continued: “He’s a great friend of mine. He’s always been so supportive of me for the last 15 years since I judged a beauty pageant for him, which was one of the very first things I did that I thought was really cool that came along with winning the Super Bowl. He’s always invited me to play golf and I’ve always enjoyed his company.”
Sorry, Tom, but you can’t stay out of this one. After all, you’re the one who, back when women and Mexican immigrants were his only targets, said “it’d be great” if Trump were elected. Last week, Deadspin offered $100 to any reporter who asks Brady about Trump’s plan to ban an entire people based on their faith.
“I support all my friends in everything they do,” Brady said. “I think it’s pretty remarkable what he’s achieved in his life, going from business, an incredible businessman, then a TV star, and then getting into politics. That’s three different career paths.”
Brady’s spinelessly diplomatic answer should come as no surprise. On D&C last month, following the release of gruesome photos depicting Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy’s battered ex-girlfriend, Brady was given the chance to condemn Hardy’s misconduct and, vis-a-vis, the league’s nasty domestic violence problem. He passed.
KIRK MINIHANE: Do you think that you as Tom Brady—one of the voices in the league—might have more of a responsibility than other players to speak up if somebody like that, there’s a chance that that guy comes to your locker room?
BRADY: I’m just going to stay out of that one, guys. I have no—I have no comment.
What did Brady stand to lose by coming out against domestic violence? The support of Greg Hardy apologists?
It’s profoundly myopic to think Brady is just an athlete and his responsibilities as a leader don’t extend beyond the sidelines. Take a look at Aaron Rodgers, who went out of his way to speak out against a fan who yelled “Muslims suck!” during a pregame moment of silence. It didn’t cost him anything. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a leader like that, rather than one who calls the madman who inspired that bigotry “a great friend”?
Sports are indelibly weaved into our culture; for many New Englanders, Brady is more influential than any elected official or community leader. That sort of mantle comes with responsibility, and it’s one that Brady continues to shirk with an aw shucks chuckle, week after week.