HOUSTON — In 2005, not long after he won the Super Bowl in this city, Tom Brady was interviewed by Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes and was asked, “Are you interested in politics?”
“Yes, I’m interested,” Brady said. “I think the way my interests ebb and flow, in two years, I don’t know what I’ll be interested in. But yeah, it’s something I like, and something I’m always staying on top of.”
Kroft made reference to a road trip Brady took with former long snapper Lonie Paxton, in which Brady listened to an audio book of Bill Clinton’s.
“See,” Brady said, “he should have been learning some things.”
The quarterback was asked what party he’s affiliated with, and said he was an Independent.
<p type="text" content="“There’s no doubt,” Brady told Kroft, “this world needs a lot of help.”” class=”canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm” data-type=”text” data-reactid=”14″>“There’s no doubt,”
On Monday night, before another Super Bowl appearance here, Brady was again asked about politics.
“What’s going on with the world?” Brady said. “In what sense? I haven’t paid much attention to what’s going on. I’m just a positive person, so I just want the best for everybody.”
Either Brady has lost interest in politics over the last decade, or, much more likely, he’s ducking the question.
His non-answer is every bit his right. No one has to say a thing publicly about his or her political leanings. But this is no ordinary time. These are no ordinary circumstances. For many Americans, there is real concern over their future, their rights, and their nation. Brady saying, “I haven’t paid much attention,” whether he says that in jest or not, is disappointing. There are protests in airports across the country, people temporarily detained, and real debate over whether President Donald Trump is doing right by America. This is, in Ronald Reagan’s words, “a time for choosing,” and Brady has chosen not to acknowledge the heaviness of the climate we’re in. He should have.
All of this started when Brady left a “Make America Great Again” cap visible in his locker last year and said it would be “great” to have Donald Trump in the White House. That seeming support for Trump the candidate was never fully owned nor fully disavowed. Again, that’s his right. Maybe he’s just buddies with Trump – so is golfer Lexi Thompson. Heck, Hillary Clinton went to Trump’s wedding. Trump has made lots of famous friends (just ask him).
But Trump is no run-of-the-mill president bickering with Congress over a flat tax. He is a revolutionary president already, making good on a promise to temporarily ban refugees from Muslim-majority nations and firing an acting attorney general in the first 10 days of his term. He has drawn the ire of many of varying faiths and demographics. Depending on your feeling, he is a bigot undermining the Constitution or he is a brave leader protecting America’s borders in a forceful way. But emotions are high and the future hangs in the balance and “I haven’t paid much attention” falls flat.
<p type="text" content="It falls even more flat after Brady backpedalled away from his prior tepid support of Trump in September, saying, “I don’t even know what the issues are. I haven’t paid attention to politics in a long time. It’s actually not something that I really enjoy. It’s way off my radar.”” class=”canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm” data-type=”text” data-reactid=”30″>It falls even more flat after Brady backpedalled away from his prior tepid support of Trump in September,
It’s everyone’s responsibility to pay attention. It’s everyone’s responsibility to get educated about the issues that are a talking point in just about every diner in America. Here’s betting Brady knows the issues very well – he did marry a foreign-born superstar businesswoman – and if so, that makes it worse. Apathy – even feigned apathy – is not the right message to send. We have had way too much isolation from politics, way too much “stick to sports.”
<p type="text" content="Colin Kaepernick also lapsed by not voting in the recent election. That’s a serious problem in this country as well, which he did not help fix – despite his outspokenness on issues that very much need addressing.” class=”canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm” data-type=”text” data-reactid=”32″>Colin Kaepernick also lapsed by
Brady was asked about his relationship with Trump last week on Boston station WEEI, and he said this:
“I don’t understand that … I don’t want to get into it, but just – if you know someone, it doesn’t mean you agree with everything that they say or do. Right? There’s things I don’t believe in, absolutely, I don’t believe in, you know, there’s a lot of things. Not to denounce anything, it’s just that there’s different things that I feel like, you know … I don’t agree with everything. That’s fine, right?”
Brady is in a difficult spot. He wants to concentrate on Sunday’s Super Bowl and not be a distraction to his teammates. He likely has views but if he starts explaining, he risks going down a road that will get thorny very quickly. This is Media Night, and not Meet The Press. But it’s not that difficult for a public figure and a beloved superstar to answer a question earnestly and give some clarity to the many people who look up to him. Put thoughts into words, even if it’s on Facebook, and refer to that.
Falcons receiver Muhammad Sanu, a Muslim, handled it well when he said, “I’m always concerned. When somebody in your family is traveling a long distance like that, you’re always concerned something may go wrong. You never know. It is what it is. You just got to hope for the best. I can’t really think about that right now. I want to focus on the game and give all I can to my teammates.”
In that 60 Minutes interview, Brady was asked if he would consider running for office. Here’s how he answered:
“So much of my attention now is focused on playing ball, and I like to do that. And if that chance does come up, and I’m still interested in it, I mean it would be something that I think I could do a decent job at. When you think about things you like to do, you think about things that you could be good at, and that’s one thing I think I could be good at.”
He could be a good politician. He’s a natural leader with a great American story. The nation might benefit from his thoughts on the problems that plague us. After all, as the greatest-ever quarterback once said, “This world needs a lot of help.”
<p type="text" content="More Super Bowl coverage on Yahoo Sports:” class=”canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm” data-type=”text” data-reactid=”44″>More Super Bowl coverage on Yahoo Sports:
NFL Network’s Erin Coscarelli interviews New England Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan regarding how his experience has been thus far in his first Super Bowl appearance.