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‘Mighty WHITE of him’: Super Bowl quarterback Tom Brady excoriated for refusing to repent for liking Trump (and being white)

Perhaps the most accomplished football player in NFL history, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is nevertheless a target of media and political venom as he prepares to play in his tenth Super Bowl on Sunday.

One can’t argue with Brady’s sporting achievements. At 43 years old, he has led the team with the worst winning percentage in NFL history to the Super Bowl in his first year on the squad, and he proved that he could get back to the championship game apart from Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots dynasty.

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But Brady is being portrayed this week as the enemy of the people. You see, Brady has been a friend of former President Donald Trump. Say no more. Washington’s new domestic-terrorism apparatchik probably needs to probe the quarterback, triple-check his January 6 alibis and make sure that letting him walk freely isn’t a danger to the republic.

Brady never politically endorsed Trump. He declined a request to speak at the 2016 Republican National Convention on Trump’s behalf. But he did play golf with him. He was once seen with one of those hateful red MAGA hats in his locker, a 2015 trolling stunt back when Trump was seen as unlikely to win the Republican nomination. He’s known Trump for nearly 20 years. He has been dealing with “uncomfortable” political questions about Trump and declining to say even how he himself will vote since 2016.

That’s no longer good enough. Brady hasn’t made any insurrection-inciting comments about ballot fraud – or any public statements at all about the November 3 election, for that matter – but he has failed to renounce his past non-political support for Trump. Just as when he was preparing to win the 2017 Super Bowl – earning the fifth of his record-breaking six Super Bowl rings – he has declined to wade into the political fray.

The folks at USA Today, America’s largest newspaper, were incensed. Columnist Nancy Armour condemned Brady as a “moral coward” and declared that he “doesn’t deserve (a) pass” for having supported Trump in the past.

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I’m not sure what not getting a “pass” looks like in Nancy Armour’s world. Does it involve a trip to Gitmo? But she wasn’t done there. She even dragged Brady’s skin color into the beatdown, saying “how mighty white of him,” because he had the temerity to tell the Super Bowl media throng that he wants to “stick to sports.”

Armour wasn’t alone. Brady was ridiculed on ‘Saturday Night Live’ for being a “weird Trump guy.” Social media was flooded with Brady bashing, such as writer Pol McShane saying, “Tom Brady loves Trump, so I hate Tom Brady.” Others reminded followers to never forget Brady’s fondness for Trump and complained that the quarterback has been “allowed by the media to like a racist.”

Armour falsely accused Brady of endorsing Trump in the past – would that be a crime if he did? – and lamented that the Super Bowl press corps didn’t grill him over the “insurrection at the US Capitol.” She brought up disingenuous comparisons to black players who, unlike Brady, have used their celebrity platforms to advance their political agendas.

Armour argued that black athletes are asked about issues pertinent to their race, such as police brutality, so Brady should have to answer for an attempted “violent overthrow of our government” that was perpetrated by predominantly white people.

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Apparently ignoring how Brady’s NBA equivalent, Michael Jordan, skilfully steered clear of politics during his stellar career, Armour saw the quarterback wriggling away because of his privilege of being a white male heterosexual. In fact, she said his ability to escape “accountability” is “the height of white privilege.”

There’s that word — accountability. With the Bad Orange Man removed from office, America has turned into one giant Trump Accountability Project. Even as the new president, Joe Biden, speaks of “unity” and “healing,” the Trump haters who are now in charge demand “accountability.”

That doesn’t mean accountability for things that are actually wrong or illegal, such as entering the Capitol while LARPing or holding up the president’s severed head in effigy. This accountability is for having supported the former president of the United States. Bow the knee, repent, and you may be eligible for rehabilitation and regaining your personhood at some point. Remaining a Trump supporter or refusing to apologize for ever having liked him, nah. There must be consequences.

It’s not entirely clear yet what all of those consequences will be. We’re still working on that. But let’s just say that it’s no longer acceptable in openly racist post-Trump America to like who you want to like or vote how you want to vote. And if you try to do that sort of thing while being white, perhaps there will be a special re-education room for you at the camp.

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Brady’s former coach, the crafty Belichick, knew better than to defy the mob. He caved to pressure last month, declining to be awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom by Trump. Without mentioning the president by name, he said he needed to remain “true to the people, team and country I love.” Somehow, that meant not being seen receiving a medal from the president.

Pro sports have long been used as bread and circus in America, dumbing down and distracting millions of people from the bigger issues that they might otherwise notice. But at least they used to provide an escape from the day-to-day grind and the ugliness of politics. That’s no longer the case. It’s now about virtue-signaling and sending the correct political messaging.

Just as the NFL is being used to teach us how to think, Tom Brady is being used – against his wishes – to teach us what can happen if one engages in, or refuses to disavow, thoughtcrime.

Never mind Gitmo. For many in today’s America, land of the formerly free and home of the formerly brave, being branded a racist or one of those 74 million domestic terrorists is terrifying enough.

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