Was Tom Brady’s “I plead the fifth” a joke?

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Some have suggested in the wake of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady‘s invocation of the Fifth Amendment when asked whether he feels appreciated by the Patriots that it was all a joke. And maybe it was. But here’s the real punchline to “I plead the fifth”: By resorting to humor, Brady avoided answering.

Eventually, he called it a “tough question,” before saying that everyone wants to be appreciated by their employer. So he didn’t say yes. And this is one of those situations in which anything other than yes necessarily means no.

After weeks of speculation about whether Brady is upset with the team and/or openly revolting against coach Bill Belichick, Brady finally had a chance to make it clear that nothing has changed. That nothing is different. That nothing is wrong. And while at times he said some of the right things, his failure to address the elephant in the room means that the thing with tusks and a long trunk still lingers.

Many continue to believe that the elephant emerged because Belichick benched cornerback Malcolm Butler during Super Bowl LII for no apparent reason at the time, and with no explanation provided since then. As Brady said Monday (via Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston), “Malcolm kept coming over to me during the game and he was like, ‘Get ’em, Tom.’ And I’m like, what defense are we in that Malcolm isn’t on the field?”

While the specific circumstances suggest that it was disciplinary, the broad picture points to Butler’s looming free agency, his failure to accept the team’s best offer on a long-term deal, and perhaps Belichick’s reluctance to give Butler a chance to be the star of another Super Bowl, forcing the team to give him what he wants financially or to apply the franchise tag in order to keep him around.

If there’s anything to that, it’s fair for players like Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski to wonder whether Belichick deviated from his “do your job” mantra to allow something other than a laser-focused desire to win a Super Bowl to influence his thought processes. If the Patriots had won (and they nearly did), it wouldn’t have been an issue. They didn’t, and many think Butler’s absence from the game made the difference.

The loss has, for the second time in three years, put Butler in the middle of a Super Bowl hangover (bringing a much different fifth into play). Butler’s interception to clinch Super Bowl XLIX threw the Seahawks into disarray, and Butler’s presence on the sidelines has potentially knocked a dynasty off its axis.

26 responses to “Was Tom Brady’s “I plead the fifth” a joke?

  1. if TB12 is going to negotiate an extension ever again during his career then he answered this question exactly how he should have answered this question. If Tom is going to take less than market value that decision has to come from him and not the organization. If the organization offers less than market value then that would be unappreciative.

    It’s not really black and white or cut and dry. It’s more of a proceed caution situation. And that’s what Tom did.

  2. The blame for ending the dynasty if it happens will be on trading the wrong QB last year because of politics. Malcolm Butler’s benching is minor compared to the gigantic mistake of trading the future.

  3. 700levelvet says:
    May 1, 2018 at 11:12 am
    They truly are becoming the NFL’s version of the Kardashian’s.


    You have it backwards. The media saw a crack in the door and kept manufacturing fake stories (like this one), to continue making money off the Pats backs.

    See Framegate I and II for more media lies in order to generate revenue in a fledgling industry replete with annual layoffs everywhere.

  4. This is beyond stupid. Watch any of Brady’s interviews and it’s clear he NEVER speaks for anyone else, so he would never tell you if he’s appreciated by Kraft or Belichick. He always, ALWAYS tells the reporter to go ask them instead.

    Again, this is just the media trying desperately to create drama.

  5. The secondary was a mess all season; I wish Butler had been out there too but doubt it would have mattered. Patricia was distracted by the job change and the players all seemed to stand around waiting for someone else to make a play. They made Alex Smith look like Montana for pete’s sake.

  6. Remember when professional football was about players and their performance ON the field? Scuttlebutt about whether someone feels appreciated really isn’t football is it? I look forward to watching football again.

  7. Yes, yes it was a joke. In the same conversation he later heaped praise on Belichick and the Patriots’ org, but to report that would prove he’d been joking and not provide acres of print columns.

  8. yawn. they’ll be a tough out just like every single year for the last 18 years. so drone on in the slow season.

  9. .
    Does this sound like a man in open revolt against his coach?

    Of his connection with Belichick, he said, “We’ve had a great relationship, a very respectful relationship for a long time. I feel like he’s the best coach in the history of the NFL. He has a management style [with] players, and he would say, ‘Look, I’m not the easiest coach to play for.’ I agree. He’s not the easiest coach to play for.

    “But he’s the best for me. I think what he’s proven is that whatever talent he has, he maximizes his talent. What more could you ask of a coach than that? That’s what I want as a player. … He’s been an incredible coach, he’s been an incredible mentor to me. He’s taught me so much football. To be a 22-year-old kid and come and learn from him, I wouldn’t be sitting here without his coaching. I wouldn’t have the success without how incredibly talented he was, along with a lot of the other coaches, a lot of the other players, a lot of the other people in the organization. Because it takes everybody to do it.”

  10. What difference does any of it make? They won 5 times. They got caught cheating twice that we know of. It is what it is.

    They don’t all love each other? Please.

    Donald Trump is the president. We have bigger problems right now.

  11. More off season drama…

    I find it eerie, that the sketch of the fellow who strong armed Stormy Daniels looks a lot like Tommy… Hope Trump didn’t recruit him as off season muscle for personal matters…

    Just saying…

    Cause that’s about as ridiculous as this article…

    There must me more to cover in the draft, the off season trades and Bill rebuilding the Pats…

  12. Lemme see, the guy has made a real fortune playing football, he is considered one of if not the best QB’s in all time, and he feels underappreciated? Just how much does he think he deserves for being an athlete? Keep it in perspective, Brady. In the grand scheme of things you aren’t that important.

  13. Belichick doesn’t owe the public an answer on Butler’s benching. If he didn’t give one to the team, I don’t know how that does anything but create a rift. He’s the coach, and he isn’t required to give the team an answer. But, if he won’t, for whatever reason, it’s going to cause problems.

  14. Why should he be appreciated? He dropped the ball and lost the Superbowl. Mr. Strip Sack strikes again.

  15. He’s been trolling the media for months. You guys have gobbled it up like a Thanksgiving Dinner and still not realized you’re being played.

  16. Be gentle with the Patriot fans. They are extremely sensitive and their feelings are easily hurt.

  17. Brady, Belichick, Kraft and Trump…

    All support each other.


  18. “and Butler’s presence on the sidelines has potentially knocked a dynasty off its axis.”

    Really? Off its axis? This is getting silly.

    I managed to watch the whole interview with Brady and all I heard was him praising the Patriot organization and way, even stating that he enjoys Belichick’s coaching style because it “makes him better”.

    Everything is fine. Slow news week. Grasping at straws.

  19. Can’t have it both ways….Brady can’t be smart and media savvy but not know how his planned “fifth” comment would be repeated and reported.

    And his comments afterwards…”We’ve had a great relationship, a very respectful relationship for a long time.” Had, not have.

    Face it, he’s not 100% happy and he’s putting it out there thru the media as a message to Belicheck and Kraft.

  20. Brady is appreciated like no other individual in eastern Massachusetts. The fans adore him. Robert Kraft practically makes out with him in public every chance he gets. So he must be directing these comments at Belichick, the greatest coach the game has ever seen. So he’s upset with the coach who has guided the team and Brady to 8 Super Bowls. Gronk is too apparently. This has got to lend some credence to the Wickersham article months back and the Curran piece a couple of weeks ago. Brady turns 41 in August and Belichick is the second oldest coach in the league by six months behind Pete Carroll (also having issues with his players). This can’t end well unless there is a kumbaya moment before the season starts. We could very well be witnessing Belichick’s last season coaching in the NFL. I hope not.

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