Somehow, the real world always finds a way in and, on Sunday, protesters gathered in front of the George R. Brown Convention Center, the game’s media headquarters, carrying signs that said, among other things, “#NOBAN,” “NOWALL” and “Immigrants Make America Great.” Some used bullhorns and chanted “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here.” Against that backdrop, Tom Brady can expect to hear questions about his relationship with Trump and his father’s cutting words about Roger Goodell over that Deflategate suspension, among other things. The New England Patriots quarterback plans, he says, to handle them in the team’s time-honored way: either silently or without giving anything away.
As for weightier issues and politics, Brady sought to sidestep questions about his friendship with the president ever since a “Make America Great Again” cap was spotted in his locker during the 2015 season. During his weekly appearance on WEEI’s “Kirk and Callahan” show last week, he asked “Why does everybody make a big deal?” over the relationship and stressed that even the best of friends and golfing buddies don’t agree on everything.
“I don’t want to get into it, but if you know someone it doesn’t mean you agree with everything they say or they do. You have a lot of friends in your life,” Brady said. “I think there are things that are based in your own dealings with someone that is a personal dealing, not a public dealing. Because you have personal experiences.”
Still, there is no way Brady won’t be pressed for details about his friendship with Trump and for his opinion on the immigration controversy.
“I certainly don’t intend on talking about any politics or political matters,” Brady reiterated Monday on WEEI. “My focus is on football. That’s where it should be and that’s where it will be all week.”
Good luck with that on media day, which will be held for the first time, in prime time Monday night. Patriots Coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft can expect questions about Trump. And Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, who grew up in a Muslim family in New Jersey and spent time in Sierra Leone as a child, had better be prepared, too.
“It’s a lot of questions,” Brady said. “If you let it, it can be a distraction and it can actually take away from a lot of energy you’re trying put in the game. That is something that is very outside your normal week of preparation. Every extra minute I can get to prepare, that’s what I’m going to use. That’s just part of the situation. I’m glad we’re dealing with it because that means we’re part of this game. But at the same time, you don’t want to let it be a distraction and take away your prep for the game.”
As for his father, he joked that “I’ve banned my dad from talking, so he’s no longer available to the media.” Last week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said it would be “an honor” to present the Lombardi Trophy to the Patriots and Brady on Sunday, a comment that set Tom Brady Sr. off.
“It should be an honor, because somebody that has Roger Goodell’s ethics doesn’t belong on any stage that Tom Brady is on,” the elder Brady told KRON-TV in San Francisco. “He went on a witch hunt and went in way over his head and had to lie his way out in numerous ways,” Brady Sr. continued, “and the reality is that Tommy never got suspended for deflating footballs. He got suspended because the court said that he could — Roger Goodell could do anything he wanted to do to any player for any reason whatsoever. That’s what happened. The NFL admitted they had no evidence on him.”
“I love my dad,” the Patriots quarterback said as he explained why his father was done talking this postseason. “As any parent knows how much you love your kids. My dad has been my best friend my entire life. He’s always been my number one supporter. Hopefully, he’s at the game cheering me on. He’s great man and I love him to death. He’s taught me everything about life. Certainly about how to be a father because he’s been the best one a son could ever ask for. I try to pass those things on to my kids because he was so supportive of not only me, but my three sisters were all great athletes in their own right. My mom, they’re still married after close to 46 years. I’ve been very, very fortunate.”