The man who was once found to be in violation of vague and poorly applied rules of the NFL is spurning the clear recommendations of the NFLPA.
Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady led offseason workouts on Tuesday with at least a dozen players, two days after the union representing all players advised them to stop doing so until training camp, due to the pandemic. The effort wasn’t private or quiet or discreet; Brady posted various photo of himself at workouts. One shows him standing roughly three feet away from tight end Rob Gronkowski, with this message: “No excuses.”
“Please be advised that it is our consensus medical opinion that in light of the increase in COVID-19 cases in certain states that no players should be engaged in practicing together in private workouts,” Dr. Thom Mayer, the NFLPA medical director, recently wrote in an email to all players. “Our goal is to have all players and your families as healthy as possible in the coming months.”
At a time when many Americans can’t agree on the appropriate balance to strike on social distancing, mask wearing, etc. as the coronavirus continues to spread, to sicken, and to kill, Brady’s message isn’t shocking, but it is a bit jarring. It’s basically a middle finger to the NFLPA’s recommendation, along with a thumb’s up to any other players on any other teams who want to defy the recommendation, too.
Anyone who cares about winning will likely do so. Brady is doing what he has to do to get his teammates and himself ready for the season. If others don’t, advantage Brady and the Buccaneers.
That actually makes the flaunting of Brady’s decision to ignore the union’s recommendation even more surprising. He should want the edge that comes from his competitors not preparing themselves for competition if they are complying with the suggestions of the NFLPA. His compulsion to show the world that he still follows the New England #NoDaysOff mantra and to drop his “LFG” message (it’s surprising he hasn’t tried to trademark that, too) is also reminding other players on other teams that they need to be doing the same thing now if they want to win football games later.