Salem State University paid New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady $170,000 for his speech at the school last month. All the money stuffed in the Super Bowl MVP’s pocket still could not get the quarterback to open his mouth much on the subject on everybody’s mind.
“Absolutely not,” Brady maintained regarding whether the preceding Deflategate controversy tainted February’s last-minute triumph over the Seattle Seahawks. “Because we earned and achieved everything we got this year as a team. I’m very proud of that, and our fans should be too.”
Beyond the spirited defense of his team’s Super Bowl victory, Brady remained largely mum on Deflategate. “I haven’t had time to digest it fully,” Brady claimed of the Wells Report. The speech followed the release of Ted Wells’ report by a day but preceded the NFL’s four-game suspension of Brady.
Roger Goodell hears Brady’s appeal next week. He stands accused of possessing knowledge of a scheme to let air out of game balls before the AFC Championship Game to gain a competitive advantage. The New England Patriots won the game 45-7.
Like Brady, the school that hired him to speak faces its own scandal.
“There was no public money used,” a Salem State spokeswoman held in response to an inquiry from the Boston Herald. The school points out to the paper that it sold 4,000 tickets that ranged from $15 to $100 for the event. But administrators did not say whether the revenue offset Brady’s fee and transportation in a helicopter. Money, after all, is fungible, and if the event lost money, taxpayers subsidized it. As the school points out on its financial documents, Salem State remains “an agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”
The university proudly points to the lecture by the local sports hero as one of the past academic year’s shining moments.
“The event sold out in less than half an hour; media called from across the country and around the world, hoping to secure one of only 20 available press passes; and a capacity crowd of 4,000 was enthralled by Mister Brady and his interviewer, renowned sports journalist Jim Gray,” the webpage of the president’s office at Salem State boasts. “The big winner was our own university, for Salem State was front and center in TV and radio broadcasts throughout America, and mentioned prominently in newspapers from The New York Times to the Merced Sun-Star to papers in Denmark and elsewhere in Europe.”
Based on the school’s listed tuition and fees, which run about $15,000 for in-state students, $170,000 could pay for a free ride for 11 local commuter students over the course of the coming school year.
For any scholar-fans who missed Brady’s academic lecture at Salem State, the University of New Hampshire an hour’s drive north hosts a course called “Deflategate” this fall. “Deflategate is one of several major controversies that we’ll explore and students will learn about related legal issues that have arisen,” Michael McCann told Breitbart Sports about his for-credit class. “For instance, students will learn about the legal significance of Tom Brady being in a union and why his rights and obligations are different from those for non-player Patriots employees who were subject to the investigation.”