Does Tom Brady’s Allegiance to Trump Make Fans Question Their Loyalty?
There are a lot of people in the country who have had intense debates and heated arguments about politics in the recent months. Many of those contests have resulted in either blocking or unfollowing on social media, and many others have resulted in real-life estrangement from friends and family members. But what happens when sports and politics overlap? What if you find out that the quarterback of your team supports the politician over whose views you were willing to lose a family member? How do you reconcile the fact that Tom Brady is a Trump supporter and still root for him when you’ve been willing to stop talking, seeing and interacting with people in your life with whom you’ve had actual, real, enduring relationships?
Now I’m not saying that everyone who roots for Brady and the Patriots but doesn’t support Trump or his politics has cut people out of their life. I took to Facebook to get some answers:
“Okay if you’re a Patriots fan, and you’re anti- Trump and feel like anyone who voted for/ supported him is implicit in the terrible things he’s doing, how do you divorce your political feelings from your allegiance to Brady, who is a Trump supporter and has called him a friend on many occasions?”- the question I posed on Facebook.
“I am a huge Tom Brady fan. Always have and always will. On the other hand I can’t stand Donald Trump or anything he stands for. I don’t let politics cloud anything else. I don’t think less of people because of their political beliefs either. My best friend and his family (especially Dad) have a Donald Trump flag! I still go over his house though.” – Mike from Connecticut
“It has definitely made me consider my rooting interest, but first and foremost I root for the team, not the players. I will always be a Patriots fan; I was before Brady and will be after. I can respect Brady’s ability and his unbelievable drive to win, but I don’t have to respect him personally and I have definitely lost some respect for him”. – Anonymous from Massachusetts.
“I’m republican as f—, although I didn’t vote for Trump, and I definitely don’t agree with a large portion of this new refugee stuff he’s doing, however, I wouldn’t stop a friendship with someone over politics, and so I wouldn’t stop being a fan of Tom Brady or the pats because of it. Unless of course Tom Brady came out and said he doesn’t like black people and that’s why he voted for and is friends with Trump. I will be friends with someone who I disagree with politically, but not with someone who is racist or anything of that nature.” – Kyle from Illinois.
“First off, what Anonymous said. Secondly, the main difference between Brady and the Trump-supporting friends/family you mentioned is the degree of “support.” The people we have fought with online share terribly offensive memes and spout venom and outright lies whenever the opportunity presents itself. I get the impression that Brady, like a lot of athletes, has a very high sports IQ but is kind of a dummy who lives in a million-dollar bubble and doesn’t really know what’s going on. He hasn’t attended rallies, re-tweeted evil s—, or gone on CNN to defend him.
He’s friendly with Trump and may or may not have voted for him (depending on whose word you believe more, Gisele’s or Trump’s). The fact that he is bewildered as to why people give so much of a s— about it shows his ignorance, as opposed to the hatred of online trolls. Though, like Anonymous, I have lost some respect for Brady, this is the team I’ve rooted for since I knew what football was. If he had been campaigning for Trump it would be a different thing altogether.” – Joe from Rhode Island
“I DO separate politics from the rest of my life. I have to. I am not the type of person to desert family and friends just because their beliefs differ from mine. My friendships are stronger than that. Also, though I don’t agree with those who voted for Trump, I understand why they did. My dad voted for him, and we had many loud, passionate debates on the issue. Because of this, I do understand the frustration that led people to vote for someone not in the political arena. In any case, I view my sports affiliation the same way. Above all, I root for the team, and not for the specific players. However, I also think Brady is a very talented player. The fact that he supports someone I don’t doesn’t change that. It doesn’t change the fact that I have rooted for the Pats long before Trump and I will root for them long after he’s out of office.” – Tara from Massachusetts
From what I’m hearing from the folks who decided to respond, it appears that they’ve been able to support the team because the team was there first. They may not like the fact that Brady is a Trump supporter and it may even have cost him a bit of respect in their eyes, they are able to separate Tom Brady the quarterback from Tom Brady the private citizen. It doesn’t change their feelings about the team because the team is nonpolitical.
In a way, this is a microcosm of the country. People may not agree with the leader, but you still support the team as a whole. In this case, the team is the United States. The team was there long before, and the team will be there long after the leader is gone. And we’re all rooting for our team to succeed.
Patrick Rahall covers everything from NFL to Entertainment for MFST, you can follow him on Twitter @PatrickRahall
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