A good friend of mine penned a letter that I find it appropriate to post on the occasion of the Super Bowl. It should be prefaced by saying that Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady made no financial contributions to Trump’s presidential campaign. Nor did his coach Bill Belichick, although both men came out publicly in support of Trump. On the other hand, the team’s owner, Robert Kraft, gave 66 percent of his contributions to Democratic candidates, party committees and outside spending groups and only 2 percent to Republicans.
I have been a Patriots fan from the beginning, back in the day when they had no stadium (and they lost a lot.) I’ve been a fan of yours since you first stepped in and showed us what a sixth-round pick could do when the Team needed him. When that Team insisted on being introduced as a Team, not as individuals, at the Patriot’s first Super Bowl, you made us proud. I am still proud of the Patriots for the great team they’ve become and for your selfless dedication to that Team.
Through all these years I have kept sports separate from politics, as I believe they should be. But by supporting Donald Trump, you have put me, and many of your fans, in a bind. Quite a few of my friends have stopped supporting the Patriots. I have continued with reservations. My allegiance is rooted in my relationship with my father, who use to call me before every big game, just for luck, and with my brother, who has continued the tradition. A few days ago my brother called me and said, “We can’t root for Brady anymore.” My answer to him was that I would write you this letter.
Whether intentionally or not, you opened the public political door and have kept it open by leaving one toe in it, neither closing it completely or walking all the way through. I wish this country had the team spirit that the Patriots do, that sense of a common good our founders embedded in the Constitution. But we are, instead, a house divided against itself. These are desperate times and, like it or not, who and what you support is “a big deal.” You are a celebrity and what you say carries a lot more weight and responsibility than you may want it to, than it would have had you kept it private.
You may try now to pretend that your support of a “friend” is not political. But it is. You wore the hat! Even though you try to make it not political, your friend will. That’s what he does. That’s who he is. I am surprised you made this such a distraction. Some of your team mates have been disciplined for less.
You’re one helluva football player, truly one of the greatest, but, like so many other Americans, you have a lot to learn about being a Patriot of this country. Either step into the arena and tell us what you think about Trump’s policies, or shut the door, if you still can, by saying you support him as a friend but not politically.
In spite of all this, I still hope the Patriots win the Super Bowl. But I also hope that you will make a conscious decision about where you stand, like all of the rest of have to.
In good faith,