It came nearly two months after the fact, but Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has finally addressed the contention from his wife, Gisele Bundchen, that Brady suffered a concussion in 2016, and others before that.
Most significantly, Mr. Brady did not say that Mrs. Brady was misinformed.
“She’s there every day,” Brady said in an interview on ESPN’s E:60. “I mean, we go to bed, you know, in the same bed every night. So I think she’s, you know, she knows when I’m sore. She knows when I’m tired. She knows, you know, when I get hit. I mean, we drive home together. But she also knows how well, you know, I take care of myself. She’s a very concerned wife and very loving.”
In other words, if she says Brady had a concussion, he had a concussion.
Curiously, Brady wasn’t asked that specific question: Have you had concussions that weren’t disclosed to the team? Instead, the question seemed to regard concussions as a given.
And if the question and answer fairly imply that, yes, he has had concussions, this raises plenty of questions about how he got those concussions and when he got those concussions and when he realized he had those concussions and who he told about those concussions.
Previously, Brady’s agent, Don Yee, had said only that Brady wasn’t diagnosed with a concussion in 2016. Which was stupidly obvious, but nevertheless effective; plenty of obviously stupid media members twisted the quote into a contention that Brady did not have a concussion.
Even without the direct “did you conceal one or more concussions” question, the comments from Brady are significant. Amazingly, however, the snippet from Brady’s interview hasn’t become a headline on ESPN.com’s primary page or at its NFL page. There’s also no hint of it on the page at ESPN.com devoted to the Patriots or at ESPNBoston.com.
So how is that not being treated as a much bigger deal by the network that finally got him to address such a sticky topic on the record? I’m tempted to accuse ESPN of deliberately burying it, but the easiest way to bury it would have been to drop it from the interview. (Then again, maybe using it but not drawing attention to it was the final compromise.)
Regardless of whether ESPN chooses to showcase the words, Brady said them. And the words became public at a time — the Sunday of a July 4 weekend that for many has become a four-day weekend — when few are consuming sports content and even fewer are producing it.
So where does it go from here? No one really knows. The issue of players potentially concealing a concussion seems to be far too significant to ignore, but the fact that Brady has played through multiple concussions during his career apparently will continue to be ignored, by the league, his team, and pretty much everyone — except by his spouse.