A theory on ESPN’s handling of Tom Brady’s response to his wife’s comments

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In the weeks since the wife of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady declared that Brady had a concussion in 2016 and has had others, Brady had not addressed the situation. Apart from his agent saying Brady was not diagnosed with a concussion last year (which was already obvious but nevertheless effective in duping some to believe this meant Brady didn’t have a concussion), Brady had said nothing.

In a recent interview with ESPN, he did. And when considering his words in the full context they were provided, it’s fair to conclude Brady acknowledged that, when his wife says he had a concussion, it’s because he had a concussion.

But here’s what’s odd. Kevin Negandhi of ESPN didn’t ask Brady whether he concealed a concussion from the league or his team. Instead, Negandhi asked this: “How much do you talk to her about those hits that you take?”

“She’s there every day,” Brady in response. “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.”

Regardless of what he said (and didn’t say), it was a significant response, and it came on one of the slowest NFL news weekends of the year. But ESPN didn’t promote or hype in any way the notion that Brady would be addressing for the first time his wife’s comments — and there’s still no evidence of the exchange anywhere on ESPN.com, ESPNBoston.com, or the various relevant Twitter accounts owned and operated by ESPN.

So here’s my theory, in three parts.

1. To get the interview, ESPN agreed not to ask Brady whether he concealed a concussion in 2016, or at any other time.

2. Negandhi’s question got Brady to provide an answer that strayed too close to the territory into which ESPN agreed to not venture.

3. ESPN agreed to play the interview including the answer but not to bring any attention to it, in any way.

That’s the only way to explains the failure to ask whether he had a concussion and the failure to do anything to promote the answer he provided.

Again, it’s just a theory. But it’s based on the fact that, over the years, I’ve picked up some insight into the sausage-making process. And this specific batch of ground up pig parts has left a strange aftertaste.

18 responses to “A theory on ESPN’s handling of Tom Brady’s response to his wife’s comments

  1. None of this involves formal channels. If we are going to subject off the cuff remarks to inference and interpretation, and use that as a springboard for investigations, there would be consequences.

    1. Athletes and spouses would no longer talk.
    2. Athletes would never allow spouses to speak about them.
    3. It would foster the perception that this particular athlete was being subject to the same harassment as that fellow from Making a Murderer.

  2. “I mean, we go to bed, you know, in the same bed every night.”

    “No Tom, we don’t know. Why don’t you tell us more about that.”

    A lot got missed in this interview it would seem.

  3. What’s to be surprised about? Brady is hardly the most honest public figure in the public eye. He plays for a team that has been punished for breaking the rules……nothing unusual from that slime ball.

  4. In a recent interview with ESPN, he did. And when considering his words in the full context they were provided, it’s fair to conclude Brady acknowledged that, when his wife says he had a concussion, it’s because he had a concussion.

    —————-

    How can you call that “fair to conclude”?

    Brady didn’t acknowledge that at all. What he said was that his wife cares about his well being. That’s what you say when you don’t want to call your wife out publicly for being wrong.

    You can’t conclude that at all.

  5. That’s the only way to explains the failure to ask whether he had a concussion and the failure to do anything to promote the answer he provided.
    ~~~~~~~
    Nope. Just the one you want to believe. Here are a couple more… 1) Overall incompetence. 2) It is not any where close to as big of a revelation as you believe. He said she cares about him and notices some things, not that they had an actual conversation about concussions.

  6. This is just another layer to the towering hypocrisy cake the haters have been baking for almost 20 years. Apparently the Patriots were now cheating by playing a concussed, 40 year old system QB who can’t throw more than 2 yards. It just makes sense.

  7. Tom Brady doesn’t want to throw Gisele under the bus he’s no fool. Plus the truth is he probably did have a concussion last year that he withheld from the team it’s a practice that’s far too common not just in the NFL but football in general. Most coaches don’t even want to know when one of their players is concussed and the players don’t want to miss time so they risk their health. It’s a sad reality that probably will never go away unless the game gets turned into flag football.

  8. Why should there be any problem about agreeing upon which questions will be asked beforehand? ESPN knows that interviews are granted as a favor and without conditions there will not be an interview.

    Sometimes you have to give a little to get a little. Play ball!

  9. I’d be surprised if most NFL players haven’t gotten a concussion, even minor. If he did, and didn’t notify the team, then whatever. He really should have.

    If he did, and notified the team and said he could still play, but they failed to report it, then that’s a big problem. Not trying to be a hater, but I understand why this organization draws some scrutiny based on the past violations.

    I’m not a Pats fan, but Brady is very good. He needs to look out for himself, and the team should be reprimanded if there was action they could take and didn’t. If it was just him, then he should go get checked out…permanent damage is real, and I doubt his millions will help him as a vegetable in 10 years.

  10. More likely than the theories posed in the article is simple ESPN incompetence. Second most likely is that after losing all credibility due to Deflategate, ESPN is reluctant to look like they’re going after Brady again over a tiny, minor thing that probably didn’t even happen.

  11. I think there was an agreement between ESPN and Brady’s camp to not ask about concussions, alleged use of Italian, Brazilian, Chinese HGH, or anything else controversial. Sad but true.

  12. You treat ESPN not asking followups as if it’s a departure from the norm. I mean, who does Roger Goodell turn to when he wants to appear as if he’s available to the media? ESPN.

  13. If you saw a hit that appeared to make him dazed and confused, please share. There’s been a lot if hits to QBs since ‘the protocol’ that make one say “c’mon, man, if that wasn’t a KO I don’t know what is”. But I didn’t see one involving TB last year.

  14. I agree there was likely a list of “don’t asks,” in order to get Brady to agree to the interview, but it’s a leap to consider his statement regarding concussions as any sort of admission. If anything, it was the classic politicians non-answer answer.

    Not sure Brady has ever thrown anyone under the bus during an interview throughout his career, and he certainly wasn’t going to do so by denying his wife’s statement as true. Can we just admit that the same supermodel who preaches to the benefits of at home water births might not be as knowledgable about diagnosing concussions as the team medical staff or independent league doctors?

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