By Vernon A. Williams, Gary Crusader
Many are anxious to say, “You gotta give Tom Brady credit. Coming back from 19 points down in the fourth quarter to win the Super Bowl seals it. He’s the best quarterback to ever play professional football.”
Brady makes about $7 million a year in endorsements, according to Forbes magazine. His most prominent products are Movado, Under Armour and Ugg. He is among the top off-field earners involved with the NFL. His retired rival, Peyton Manning, sat at the top of the list at $15 million.
The endorsement that bothers some most is his support for Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. The Donald boasted about their friendship while on the stump. Brady caught on camera sporting his “Make America Great Again” hat.
Ironically, Gary, Indiana has a role in the “bromance” between Trump and Brady. During the Miss Universe Pageant held at Trump’s Gary casino when he flew Brady into town as a judge. They hit it off immediately and have been tight since. Here is what the quarterback said about the Trump and the campaign hat:
“He (Trump) sent it to me via RKK (initials of team owner Robert Kraft, an avid Trump supporter). He (Trump) always gives me a call and different types of motivational speeches at difficult times. So now he’s running for president and he sent me a hat…so it found it’s way to my locker. I mean, it’s pretty amazing what he has accomplished. He obviously appeals to a lot of people and he is a helluva lot of fun to play golf with. Donald is a good friend of mine and I support all my friends in everything they do.”
By the way, Trump returns the loyalty. He picked the Patriots to win by eight. But when they went down 28-3, Trump left his own Super Bowl party, gave up on his favorites and missed the comeback.
The owner of the Patriots is an even more enthusiastic supporter of the Donald. Speaking of his orange-hair friend who spent many days in the Patriot’s locker room said of the Donald: “Loyalty is important to me and he has been a wonderful friend…and I really think the policies he’s going to bring to bear are going to be great for the economic side of America.”
And to put the cap on the New England Patriots hierarchy support for a racist, xenophobic, woman abuser who – according to objective tracking sources – told more lies during his campaign than truths, never formalized a policy or campaign promise, mocked the handicapped and showed ruthless disregard for women – Coach Bill Belicheck endorsed Trump in writing. Then-candidate Trump read his letter of support during a rally and “The Hoodie” (as Belicheck is nicknamed) verified it was authentic.
Make no mistake. This is America. Brady, Kraft and Belicheck have a right to endorse whomever they please for president. Since they are public figures, everyone else has the right to offer an opinion on such highly placed viewpoints expressed. In the opinion of many, it is a travesty in this case – particularly when 60 percent of the players who also helped them win that fifth Super Bowl are Black.
Lest we forget that not once but twice, Trump was successfully sued for refusing to allow Black residents at his properties. Remember, Trump is quo-ted as being upset when finding out a Black accountant was tallying his earnings at one of his major enterprises, saying he preferred Jewish accountants. Remember, Trump pushed the death penalty for five Black men unjustly accused of a brutal rape and even after DNA proved their innocence, refused to apologize. Remember, the Donald was ringleader of the so-called “birther” movement accusing the nation’s first African American president of being both a Muslim and a non-citizen, Trump refused to acknowledge the blunder FIVE YEARS after President Obama produced a birth certificate to prove his legitimacy.
People say sports and politics don’t mix. To some extent, that’s true. When they do – it can be like nitrogen and glycerin – EXPLOSIVE. While there are some “gray areas,” racism and sexism are indisputably evil – no matter whether you call yourself Democrat, Republican, or Independent.
Trump not only made it clear where he stood as a candidate but is reinforcing the bigotry in his first month of being president. He is exactly what you think he is.
Those who line up behind him, even if they represent your favorite team, are endorsing the hatred by either their tepid support or silence. That’s just wrong.
Some urge acceptance and forbearance towards Trump. Other can’t reconcile being in league with one whose outrageous views are so diametrically opposed to anything this country has touted in the past as decency.
One Chicago resident put it like this: “I refuse to be an accomplice to my own execution.” There has been nothing to even hint that the new commander in chief has any plans to lift people of color, women, those of varying nationalities, religions, physical capacity or sexuality. He remains the same as his campaign rhetoric of the past two years.
Consequently, it is implausible to ask those who support his administration and those who find him repugnant to find middle ground; to somehow co-exist in harmony. There are people who refuse to make a deal with the devil – who believe you are either part of the solution or part of the problem.
When the Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2015, Brady turned down the invitation from President Obama to join the rest of his teammates in a White House tribute. He claimed to have pressing family business that day.
Luke O’Neil of the Washington Post perhaps summed it best referring to Brady and his support of Trump. He wrote:
“When it comes to Trump, no one can be apolitical. Brady’s nonchalant neutrality is itself a political statement. It says he’s either too rich to worry about how Trump’s whirlwind of chaos will affect his life or, worse, too indifferent about the rapidly diminishing prospects of those who are not (too rich). This isn’t easy to say about someone I’ve idolized as an emblem of determination for more than 15 years but…in the eyes of many fans, Tom Brady looks like a loser. Tom Brady looks like a coward.”
CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on myriad topics that include social issues, human interest, entertainment and profiles of difference-makers who are forging change in a constantly evolving society. Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – commonly referred to as The Circle City. Send comments or questions to: [email protected].