It’s been more than 16 months since Tom Brady first placed a “Make America Great Again” hat in his locker and kept it there for weeks while telling reporters that it “would be great” if Donald Trump became president. Well, Donald Trump is president, and I’m going to put this as objectively as I can: It has not been great.
Brady desperately wants the media to stop asking him about Trump. He’s tired of the surge of questions that just wasn’t there before Trump started to fulfill his campaign promises and caused a couple of constitutional crises. (Remember when we had to offer a damn bounty just to get anyone to ask Brady about his support of Trump after Trump first promised a Muslim ban? Those were more innocent times.)
It’s Super Bowl week, so Brady can’t escape the media. Yesterday he and fellow Trump enthusiast Bill Belichick ducked and dodged every question about politics. Brady shrugged off one question about the truly historic chaos caused by the Trump administration with this:
“What’s going on in the world?” Brady said. “I haven’t paid much attention. I’m just a positive person.”
I’m so, so sick of Brady’s “Who, what, me?” routine, even as he was used as a prop throughout Trump’s campaign. Let’s be clear: Under ordinary circumstances, athletes’ politics are their own, and they shouldn’t be expected to have to explain them more than anyone else. But that goes two ways. These are extraordinary circumstances—unprecedented, history-altering circumstances—and the country feels like it’s coming apart. Right now, it’s not enough for the Trump supporter around the corner to explain his support with a shrug, and it’s not okay for a famous one to grin and smirk because Durr, Donald’s my friend.
Brady started this, remember. He put that Trump hat right at camera level, knowing it’d be seen. Yes, maybe that was back when people thought Trump was just a bad joke, and yes, maybe Brady’s not a sophisticated enough thinker for his support to have gone beyond “I know this guy,” but things have changed. Trump’s orders and appointments are pushing America toward various sorts of wars; empowering white supremacy; attempting to strip away long-ensconced rights; undermining the government’s ability to function on a day-to-day level; and installing bigotry and stupidity as American policy. He has made life worse for people. People will die. “What’s going on in the world?” Get the fuck out of here!
I don’t know what I personally want to hear from Tom Brady now. An apology would be ideal. Owning up to his support of Trump would be respectable, at least on a level where he shows he comprehends what any of this means. But to throw off the questions altogether, especially with some glib shit about being a positive person, is more than I can bear. A dumb rich guy supporting Donald Trump as a person is understandable. I believe it still makes Brady a dreadful person, bereft of empathy or of brains. But refusing to even acknowledge his support, or just the very clear and human reasons for the widespread criticism of that support, makes Brady a coward.