by Terri Bey
In all my years of being a fan of the NFL and of the New England Patriots and especially, their QB Tom Brady, I have seen a cottage industry develop, which is to pretty much destroy and discredit the Patriots Dynasty and Tom Brady’s greatness. I hear fans from the other 31 teams trash them. I hear pundits from various networks, sports sites, and on Youtube Channels trashing the Patriots. The NFL, with that ridiculous “Deflategate,” despite real science proving otherwise, tried to discredit Brady. I have seen it all.
All this aside, some recent comments in an attempt to discredit Tom Brady that I read from a one Kyle Kusz, an Associate Professor of Kinesiology at the University of Rhode Island, just took the cake. I mean, these comments were beyond the pale. Kusz contributed to a book titled, “The Palgrave Handbook of Masculinity and Sport.” Kusz’ chapter was titled, “Making American White Men Great Again: Tom Brady, Donald Trump, and the Allure of White Male Omnipotence in Post-Obama America.” The basic premise of the chapter was that the reason that Tom Brady is so popular is due to white supremacy, white rage, and Brady’s association with current President Donald J. Trump.
Before I continue with unpacking Professor Kusz’ claims, I want to tell my readers that I am mixed-race. I am part white, part black and part Cherokee Indian. I am very proud of my heritage and of who I am. I am not revealing my political affiliations, but I just think that we fans need to remember that these athletes are out there for our entertainment. I think people tend to get way too wrapped up in which athletes or entertainers, for that matter, support which candidate or political candidate. People say, “Stick to sports/acting/music.” Well, maybe we should just “stick to being fans.”
Let’s start with some of Professor Kusz’ claims about Tom Brady in his chapter. What I will do here, is put HIS comments in bold italics, and my response will be in the “normal font,” like so.
From the Chapter, Kusz writes:
But for the rest of this essay, I want to offer some developing thoughts on Trump’s repeated use of white sportsmen—but particularly his twitter-based affection for Tom Brady—as dog-whistles to communicate his brand of white supremacy. I contend that Trump has used white sportsmen like the late Joe Paterno, Bobby Knight, and Brady as dog-whistles to connect on an affective level with American white men from various regions of the United States so they feel like Trump is a politician who finally understands them and will fight to protect and preserve the white male prerogative for men like them.
Mr. Kusz, you are a “white male.” Brady is an international superstar, especially in South America, where his wife, supermodel, Gisele Bundchen is from. I would like to know how Joe Paterno and Bobby Knight also figure into all this. It sounds to me that Mr. Kusz wants to bring down successful white men, just because Donald Trump mentions them in his tweets.
Kusz then writes:
Like Paterno and Knight, Brady has suffered a much-publicized fall through his role in the recent Deflategate scandal. … Brady’s devotees have ardently alleged that he’s been railroaded by a NFL Commissioner who has capriciously wielded the institutional power of his office to illegitimately punish a living legend—in Trump’s vernacular ‘a true champion and winner’—who will one day be immortalized in Canton, Ohio.
Wow. Where do I start with this nonsense? First of all, it appears that Kusz has some sort of mission to tie Paterno, Knight and Brady together. It doesn’t make any sense here, as far as “scandals.” How can Kusz put Brady’s alleged participation in an alleged “ball deflation scheme” in the same category with former Indiana University Men’s Basketball Coach Bobby Knight’s putting his hands around the throat of one of his players, and the late, legendary Penn State Football Head Coach Joe Paterno’s ALLEGEDLY turning a blind eye to defense coordinator Jerry Sandusky’s child sex abuse acts, for which Paterno got fired? I say “allegedly,” only because there are still disputes over what Paterno knew and when, even after the Freeh report.
One other thing, Tom Brady’s ridiculous 4 game suspension was hardly a “fall,” unlike Paterno and Knight. If Kusz really understood how the NFL overreacted to what was basically an equipment violation, and how ESPN’s Chris Mortenson, with information he got from an NFL source tweeted out that “11 of 12 of the Patriots footballs were under the legal limit,” information that turned out to be wrong, and Mortenson KNEW it was wrong, Kusz would have realized that Brady was railroaded. No commissioner would have suspended Brady or any player for such a minor violation like that, especially when real science does not support their alleged “scandal.”
Kusz then writes:
The coded language of Trump’s tweet reveals that part of Brady fans’ impassioned fury about Commissioner Goodell’s punishment of Brady can’t be explicitly named. There are at least two racial dimensions to Brady’s supporters defense: 1) they seem unable to believe that a living white male NFL legend would not be protected by the League; and 2) they sense that Goodell targeted Brady because punishing him—a player who embodies all the virtues of all-American white sporting masculinity—would allow the Commish to deflect mounting criticism that his previous player conduct punishments were guided by a personal racial bias that was unfairly targeting black players. Who better to use to alleviate such an allegation than a white quarterback whose ‘I’m just here to play football’ pose, ferocious competitive spirit, and proven record of success makes him the ultimate symbol of American-state sanctioned white male perfection. What other act would better mitigate the Commissioner’s momentary development of a racial conscience?
I had to read this three or four times, because I just could not believe that this guy believes what he is saying. Patriot fans, lawyers, and pundits, who were NOT fans of the team, were skewering Goodell over how he handled, or rather mishandled “Deflategate.” Did this guy even pay attention during the nearly 18 month saga? What does RACE and Donald Trump have to do with this? More black players are punished by the NFL Conduct Policy, because proportionately, there are more of them in the NFL. Goodell punished Brady because the other 31 team owners wanted the Patriots hit hard over missing molecules in a ball, and many of them, such as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, late Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, and Giants Owner John Mara felt that the Patriots weren’t punished enough for Spygate. I should remind the professor that Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, who also is friends with Donald Trump, and is WHITE, served a four game suspension for a Violation of the Conduct Policy over being accused of rape for the second time. I see that the professor is not upset with Big Ben.
Oh, one other thing. Patriot fans, like myself, and others who weren’t fans, were saying Brady was innocent because, as I said previously, science, and I am not talking about that fake science the NFL got from Exponent, but REAL SCIENCE did not support “Deflategate.” The Ideal Gas Law, PV=n x RT, which is high school physics, explains why those balls were naturally under-inflated. Period. That is why Patriots fans were ardently defending the man. Race had nothing to do with it.
Let’s look at another item that Kusz includes. Kusz spoke to CampusReform.org, and the following is from the article ( https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=13765 ) :
Kusz claims that since Brady “plays in a sport where 67% of the players are African-American,” the fact that most of the individuals whom he brings with him to the Kentucky Derby are white “tell[s] a more particular story about the racial company he chooses to keep.”
“It is a vision of Brady as a wealthy, white man who apologetically enjoys, and has even made a habit out of, spending time with other wealthy white men who treasure time ‘with the boys’ over all others,” adding that the choice of the Kentucky Derby “suggests his performance of white masculinity shares much in common with President Trump’s” in that the Derby is a “class-exclusive leisure activity” where most of the attendees are white.
This professor is really reaching here. As a horse racing fan, who HAS been to the Kentucky Derby several times, and the last one I attended was in 2015 when American Pharoah won and started his march toward winning the Triple Crown and into greatness. Yes, Tom Brady and many OTHER celebrities are up in Millionaire’s Row. However, Kusz is totally wrong that the Kentucky Derby is a “class exclusive leisure activity.” There are people from all class divisions who attend the Kentucky Derby. There are those like myself who can just afford General Admission, especially many of those college kids in the Infield. There are those who could afford the more expensive seats that go for hundreds of dollars. Of course, there is the aforementioned “Millionaire’s Row.” Sure, most are white, but there are people of all nationalities and races and backgrounds who attend this race.
However, it looks like to me that Mr. Kusz is trying to insinuate that the Kentucky Derby is some sort of activity for white supremacy, and Kusz is dead wrong. Racing is already under attacked by extreme animal activists. One of the sport’s biggest events doesn’t need another misguided attack by someone who doesn’t know anything about the sport.
As far with whom Brady associates himself is concerned, I don’t see how hanging out with mostly white friends at the Derby or any other event for that matter makes Brady a symbol of white supremacy. Besides, I don’t see why Brady has to justify why he is friends with whom to some professor anyway. Earth to Mr. Kusz . I go to plenty events where I meet up with many of my friends and acquaintances. Guess what? Most of them are white also.
In conclusion, I find this latest attack on Brady to be beyond the pale. Tom Brady is admired by fans like myself because of his perseverance, his willingness to work hard, his work ethic and his great character. In his diatribe, all Professor Kyle Kusz does, is attempt to turn all of Brady’s good qualities into something ugly and, of course, racist. I mean, who else would write nonsense like, ” [Brady’s] is a tale of his being an athletic underdog who has only become one of the NFL’s all-time best quarterbacks because his strong work ethic, strict discipline, and smarts have enabled him to overcome the doubts and minimal opportunities afforded him by so-called football experts in college and upon his entry into the NFL. This tale transforms the flesh and blood Brady into the fantasy of the self-made American man, a figure that has been instrumental historically in masking, protecting and preserving the white male prerogative in American institutional life. ” But it also subtly situates him within the racial politics of our times as the humble, hard working white guy who seems to lack any trace of social privilege, doesn’t display any inflated sense of entitlement and thus can be cited by defenders of the status quo to deny the idea that any systemic racial and gender privileges exist at all.
I have plenty of friends, who happen to be white and male, who work hard, and are “self made men.” They also have strong work ethics. This professor seems to think that there is something “racist” and “privileged” about it. What is wrong with having a strong work ethic, regardless of race? Brady worked hard for what he got, as many “ordinary people” have. Working hard for what you have is a good virtue to have. It has nothing to do with race or privilege. Stop making it about privilege and race.
In closing, I find it very disappointing to see a sure-fire First Ballot Hall of Famer being unfairly attacked by some professor, who has to play the race card. I don’t think Tom Brady is a racist. I don’t think any of his admirable qualities qualifies as racist. Only this professor with an agenda to push would think a great work ethic by white males would think that’s “racist.”
Thank you for reading and feedback is welcome.