The Corner

Culture

Tom Brady Owes You Nothing

As long as we’re tallying up indicators of fascism, spare a thought for USA Today’s Nancy Armour, who published one of the most repulsive columns I’ve seen in some time on Monday, about New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, currently prepping for this weekend’s Super Bowl:

“Tom Brady no longer gets a pass on his friendship with Donald Trump,” writes Armour:

Trump’s campaign was steeped in racism, bigotry and misogyny, and he has doubled down on his hatred in his first week as president. . . . Brady might not agree with Trump’s views or his policies, as he seemed to indicate last week during his weekly appearance on WEEI’s “Kirk and Callahan” radio show. . . . But in refusing to publicly disavow Trump’s actions, Brady is giving tacit endorsement to both Trump and the chaos he has created.

Translation: Donald Trump is basically Hitler, and while I don’t know if Tom Brady is basically a Nazi, until he announces otherwise I’m going to assume he is.

According to Armour, this isn’t at all unreasonable, because Brady brought the questions on himself:

There are plenty of people in the NFL – owners, executives and players – who are Trump supporters. But no one was as public as Brady, who had a “Make America Great Again” hat in his locker way back in September 2015.

Brady is not dumb, nor is the four-time Super Bowl champion and NFL’s cover boy oblivious to his image. He knew the hat was going to get noticed, he knew it was going to get coverage and he was fine with it.

It’s only now, when he’s facing questions and criticism, that he thinks the friendship should be off limits. But it doesn’t work that way. If you stake out a position, you need to own it. Or if you’ve had a change of heart, explain why.

Is anyone under the impression that if Brady came out and publicly supported Trump, Armour would be satisfied? — you know, because he “owned it”?

Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?

The worst element of our political culture — and I say that recognizing the surplus of qualified candidates — is the tinpot totalitarianism of people like Armour, who think it incumbent upon themselves to ensure that everyone is thinking acceptably about the latest Cause du Jour. Buzzfeed’s news wing did the same thing on Sunday, “checking in” with major corporations for their thoughts on Trump’s executive order on refugees:

And if they didn’t? Nice company you got there. . .

This is a vile instinct. The impulse to police everything — every work of art, every Facebook post, every prayer — to make sure it comports with the acceptable political opinion of the moment corrupts everything. It warps religion. It destroys art. It ends relationships. Subordinating everything to politics is inhuman.

Frankly, I hope Brady doesn’t address his relationship with Trump. Awards shows and sporting events and the rest are too afflicted with politics already, and I would much prefer to watch Sunday’s game without having to subject my rooting interests to penitential reflection.

But if Brady does have to address the matter, I’d recommend a brief answer, something along the lines of: “I’ll vote for whomever I damn well please, as is the constitutional right of every American, and if that’s not okay with you . . . ”

Well, I’m sure Brady, after years in locker rooms, would have no trouble filling in the rest.