Tom Brady and white privilege

Well. They asked. A lot.

I’ll give the reporters covering the Super Bowl credit. They asked Tom Brady about his previous support of Donald Trump.

And Brady’s response?

““What’s going on in the world?” Brady said. “I haven’t paid much attention. I’m just a positive person.”


Look, Tom Brady is under no obligation to have a political opinion, or to express it. He’s not. I felt that given his previous actions, reporters had an obligation to ask him about it. But the First Amendment includes a right not to speak. Brady doesn’t have to discuss his past, present, or future support of Trump. He can say this in any number of ways. “Guys, I’m not talking politics this week.” “I’m completely focused on the game this week.” “I know it’s a challenging time for the country, but I’m confident we can find unity.” “No comment.”

But that statement. ““What’s going on in the world? I haven’t paid much attention. I’m just a positive person.”

That’s the most tone-deaf, glib statement possible. To claim to be unaware of mass protests, a proposed ban on refugees and muslims and general fear of what’s happening in our government, to shrug it off with a statement like “I’m just a positive person” is so out of step with the times, so

It’s the epitome of white privilege.

White privilege doesn’t mean that all white people have it easy. All it means, at its core, is that there are certain structural, political structures in place that give us the benefit of the doubt that minorities do not get. It’s how I can become a nervous wreck if a police officer pulls behind me, but it’s not because I’m afraid I could get shot. Lord knows I’ve benefited from white privilege, and do so every day.

Brady’s statement — What’s going on? I haven’t paid much attention. I’m just a positive person — is the epitome of this privilege. He’s not paying attention to the world because he doesn’t have to. He's not speaking about politics because he doesn't have to. He’ll be fine no matter what. But the glib lack of acknowledgement that something is going on — at a time when more and more athletes, many of whom are black, are speaking their minds — is stark.

I’m glad the reporters asked this week. We learned a lot about Brady.