ESPN writer Ian O’Connor pulled no punches when he called out Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady for what he described as “setting a dreadful example.”
The object of O’Connor’s criticism is the defiant offseason private workouts Brady has insisted upon conducting despite being advised to stop by the National Football Players Association, and rising COVID-19 cases in Florida, where he and members of the Bucs are working out.
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Tom Brady has been an earnest and largely reliable role model for two decades, and yet this week he has been setting a dreadful example for the millions who admire him. As the coronavirus pandemic rages across the nation, and through his adopted state of Florida, Brady has defied the recommendation of the NFL Players Association’s medical director and worked out with some of his Tampa Bay Buccaneers teammates.
O’Connor’s ESPN colleague Adam Schefter reported that at least two Bucs players had tested positive for the coronavirus. O’Connor added, Hillsborough County where Brady’s workouts with teammates has taken place, have reported 716 new cases of COVID-19 in a single day.
Even after receiving specified instructions from the NFLPA and medical professionals, Brady took to Instagram and posted, “the only thing to fear is fear itself.” This is a misapplied quote of FDR, and it seemed to light even more of a fire under O’Connor.
In another justifiable jab at the GOAT, O’Connor wrote:
Apparently, Brady’s reaction was to disregard that consensus medical opinion, continuing to show that ol’ New England Patriots grit in the first preseason of the rest of his life. As he approaches his 43rd birthday, Brady has something to prove to himself, to the doubters and to the legend, Bill Belichick, who decided he wanted someone named Jarrett Stidham to take Brady’s place.
What we’re seeing in action is the tunnel vision and selfishness, that when applied in a team sport, and results in wins and Super Bowls is celebrated. However, in a real-life situation where there are lives at stake, this stubbornness and disregard for anything besides what he holds most sacred, winning, Brady looks pretty disgusting to some.
While it’s easy to agree with O’Connor amidst what we see happening in the world with the virus, but Brady isn’t leading a youth football team out there. There are at least 11 other grown men making the same selfish choice to participate in these workouts, more than likely without the proper safety protocols in place. Based on that, it’s probably not fair to single Brady out, though he is the leader.
To whom much is given, much is expected.