Tom Brady clammed up last week when asked to comment on the genital-grabbing talk of his good friend Donald Trump, but on Monday he explained why he acted so evasively: because he didn’t want to be a distraction to his team.
Last week, in the wake of Trump’s unpleasant boast that he could “grab women by the pussy” without their consent because he was so famous, Brady was asked by a reporter at Patriots media day: “Tom, you have kids of your own … how would respond if your kids heard Donald Trump’s version of locker-room talk?”
Brady didn’t answer the question, and after a brief thank you, hurriedly left the stage. His non-answer provoked much ire, especially since many other athletes were quick to criticise Trump’s remarks.
Brady, who threw for 376 yards and three touchdowns in New England’s 35-17 win over the Bengals on Sunday, told Boston sports radio WEEI that he ducked the question because didn’t want to create extra headlines.
He said: “It’s just the way it is right now. Obviously there’s a lot of headlines to make, and I’ve tried not to make a lot of headlines. I’ve been in an organization where we’re taught to say very little, we have respect for our opponents and we don’t do the trash-talking.
“The thing I’ve always thought is I don’t want to be a distraction for the team. That’s what my goal is. Not that there are things I’ve said and done that haven’t been, but you try not to be. It’s just hard enough to win and prepare without the distractions so when you start having the distractions it’s even harder to prepare.”
However, Brady’s refusal to answer the question arguably created just as much of distraction for the Patriots, a point which was acknowledged by former New England receiver Troy Brown on Sunday.
Brown said: “[He should have said] just something, a quick answer on the question to get it out of the way, just answer the question to say, ‘I don’t condone it’ and then walk off the stage. The optics of it weren’t great. I understood what he was trying to do. But the next time he’s asked that question, then give a quick answer and let it be. I’m not responsible for what comes out of my friend’s mouth. But I am responsible for correcting my friend.”
On Monday, Brady again said that he and Trump have been friends for 15 years, and that “I’ve always had a good time with him”.
“I met him probably 15, 16 years ago,” Brady said. “We’ve played golf together many, many times and I’ve always had a good time with him. He’s been a friend of mine. He’s supported our team. He’s supported the Patriots. He’s been on the Patriots sideline a lot. He’s always called me after games to encourage me over the course of 15 years. That’s kind of the way it is.”
Brady didn’t reveal who he’d be voting for on 8 November, but he did say he would certainly be casting his ballot. “Yeah, I’ll vote,” Brady said. “Maybe we’ll talk about [my vote] after Super Tuesday or whatever it is.”
This article was written by Guardian sport, for theguardian.com on Monday 17th October 2016 22.19 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
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