When sports figures become content generators, the audience gets only the content that the sports figures choose to generate.
As to Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, the latest one-hour episode of his podcast with Jim Gray completely avoids one of the biggest stories in the NFL from the past week. And it’s a story that directly impacts Brady’s team.
Two key players, receiver Antonio Brown and safety Mike Edwards, received three-game suspensions for misrepresenting their vaccination status. They supplied fake vaccination cards, pretending to be vaccinated while not actually being vaccinated. It’s a huge story, one that impacts the Bucs strategically in the short term and that created an enhanced risk of infection for months before news of the fake vaccination cards came to light.
For Brady to completely ignore the issue during a one-hour show is odd, to say the least. For Gray, who made his bones in part by reducing Pete Rose to a pile of gristle, to not find a way to conjure a single slow-pitch softball on the issue is bizarre. Even if Brady simply reiterated what he said on Sunday about the situation — that he’s focused on his own job and that he’s treating the suspended players as if they’re injured — Brady needed to say something on the matter during his podcast, for the podcast to have even a shred of credibility.
He should be as upset about it as coach Bruce Arians is. Indeed, Brady should be clamoring for the NFL (as Arians is) to fully investigate other teams. Above all else, Brady is uniquely positioned to compare the treatment he received over a trumped-up charge of deflated footballs (four games) to the punishment for deliberately lying about vaccination status and placing legitimately vaccinated players and staff at risk of infection (three games).
Few will be surprised by the fact that Brady steered clear of the issue, but it’s still worth pointing it out. If active players will be avoiding truly independent reporters (who would surely ask about the fake vaccination cards, for example), it’s not a real interview. It’s not a real conversation. It’s the player serving not only as the subject of the interview but also as its producer, avoiding or minimizing topics on which he’d rather not speak and steering the conversation only to the things he feels like talking about.
Obviously, Brady doesn’t feel like talking about fake vaccination cards. If he did, he would have at some point during his latest one-hour episode of Let’s Go!