Remember that time when LeBron James endorsed Hillary Clinton, and the sports media wrote that LeBron needed to “explain” himself, that he needed to brace for the “blowback,” how Hillary used LeBron as an “endorsement prop,” and other cryptic and threatening things?
Yeah, I don’t remember that either, and neither does Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe.
On Tuesday, Shaughnessy reacted to Donald Trump’s public telling of one of the worst kept secrets in America, the fact that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick supported the Republican. Quickly implying some heinous national crime, Shaughnessy wrote, “The Patriots win too much. They get caught cheating. And just when you think they can’t offend any more of Football America, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady get used as endorsement props by the most polarizing American political figure of the last 60 years. On the eve of the presidential election. Wow. Too rich.”
Wait a minute, just how does Belichick and Brady’s support of Donald Trump offend “Football America?” Deep blue “Football New England” might take offense at Trump reading an endorsement from the greatest coach in the NFL. However, perhaps unbeknownst to Shaughnessy, once you venture out of the Northeast, “Football America” trends far more red than blue, which makes Belichick’s endorsement far less controversial.
Trump cited Tom Brady’s support and read a letter from Bill Belichick endorsing his candidacy on election eve in New Hampshire. Trump went on to
win lose the Patriots Nation state by a tiny margin.
Shaughnessy went on to lay out the great media reckoning he expects to come for Belichick and Brady once they face the media on Wednesday:
When a sports figure lends the currency of his fame to support a candidate, he’d better be prepared to hear questions about his position and brace for some blowback from an emotional voting population.
In this spirit, Belichick and Brady have invited the dreaded media to ask questions about their support for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. If we can believe Trump, Brady called the candidate Monday, told him he voted for him, then told Trump it was OK to announce his support in New Hampshire.
Ditto for Belichick. According to Trump, the coach wrote the candidate a fawning letter, then amended that missive and gave Trump permission to read it to the world on election eve.
This disqualifies Brady and Belichick from expressing surprise or disdain when they get asked about it in Foxborough Wednesday. They can dismiss it with “we’re on to Seattle” if they want, but the quarterback and coach invited this.
Good for them for taking a public position. Time now to stand by their man or explain that the candidate did not have their permission to share details of their support. It’s one or the other. The “crooked” media did not start this fire. Bill and Tom did.
Not since Wolf Blitzer declared New York a “big win” for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign has the media overreacted quite this badly. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick possess the “right” to support whomever they want, the same right that LeBron, J.R. Smith, and everyone who supports Hillary enjoys. So, why should they “brace for blowback” when none of the Hillary-supporting athletes need to?
Get outside New England every once in a while, Dan. It’ll be a real eye opener for you.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn