Tom Brady: Hero Worship Leads To Lame Crisis Response

On Wednesday, a 243-page report found it was “more probable than not” that New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady was “at least generally aware of the inappropriate actions” his team’s staff took to deflate footballs in January’s AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.

In other words, there’s a better chance than not that Brady is a lying cheater.

Yesterday, Brady gave his first interview since the report’s release as part of a prescheduled interview at Salem State University. If you believed Brady was innocent of the allegations against him before the interview, you might have changed your mind after watching him dodge question after question in a manner that strained credulity. 

Interviewer Jim Gray did his journalistic duty by asking Brady for his reaction to the report. The audience heartily booed every question Gray asked on the matter and enthusiastically applauded every Brady evasion.

Kelly Carlin, George’s daughter, summed up the interview perfectly in a tweet last night:

Kelly Carlin Tweet

I believe the crowd’s hero worship will work against Brady, who relished the audience’s response and hid behind their angry boos to Gray’s fair and necessary questions. Brady’s response may not lose him any diehard fans, but the audience beyond the room—including many people reasonably asking whether Brady is the latest Lance Armstrong, Mark McGwire, or Barry Bonds—were probably not impressed.

My biggest problem with this interview is that his tone was generally unserious. The questions swirling around him go to the center of integrity, honestly, and playing within the rules. Regardless of his guilt or innocence, he treated the cheating allegations with a defiant and casual air instead of as the legacy-tarnishing accusations they are.

Tom Brady Jim Gray 2

Brady should have stepped up and managed the crowd. He would have scored points by encouraging them to listen to Gray’s questions respectfully and giving him a chance to respond to them. He could have said:

“Jim is asking me fair questions, and it’s his job to ask them. So let me do my best to answer them.”

If he didn’t want to answer the questions, he could have said something along the lines of what he did say at one point during the interview:

“I haven’t had time to read the full report yet, and I’d like to have the chance to read it in full before commenting on it.”

Instead, he hid behind a hometown crowd, made a lame joke about his reading skills, and played the victim. And not once did he say he was innocent. All of that leads me to believe that he’s a cheater.

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