ST. PAUL, Minn. — Tom Brady’s character and integrity were on trial in Deflategate.
By the time he ran out of legal options when he wisely decided not to take the case of the missing PSIs all the way to the Supreme Court, the consensus was the four-game suspension he finally was forced to serve to open the 2016 season was for a football crime he did not commit.
Public figures desperately try to separate their personal and professional lives. Brady and his model wife Gisele Bundchen are among the most recognizable couples in the world. They are a magnet for the paparazzi and gossip magazines. It comes with the territory.
But there is a line to be drawn. Don’t bring the kids into the conversation.
Alex Reimer is a 25-year-old host on WEEI in Boston trying to make a name for himself. After watching a scene from Brady’s Facebook documentary “Tom vs. Time” that featured his 5-year old daughter Vivian going outside to play soccer, Reimer referred to her Thursday night as an “annoying little pissant.”
That sent thousands searching for the definition of pissant, which is an insignificant or contemptible person or thing.
It would be insulting to label anybody a pissant, but it’s completely inappropriate to say that about a little girl. WEEI suspended Reimer indefinitely on Friday.
“I just think that any parent is really protective of their kids,” Brady said Monday night. “I’ve never stayed away from criticism. I understand that criticism is part of sports. I certainly don’t think my children or any other children deserve to be in that.”
Brady had forgiveness in his heart Monday night for Reimer and lobbied for him to keep his job. Earlier Monday, Brady hung up the phone just one minute into his weekly Monday morning spot with “Kirk and Callahan,” after the WEEI hosts apologized for Reimer’s behavior.
Brady then went to a sendoff rally in Foxborough, traveled to Minneapolis with the team for his eighth Super Bowl and by the time he sat on the podium at media night, he was making an attempt to help Reimer keep his job.
“I think we all have careers and we all make mistakes,” Brady said. “I’d hate for someone to have to change their life over something like that. It was certainly not what he intended.”
WEEI just signed a new deal to continue popular Patriots programs on Mondays and Fridays, which includes weekly spots with Brady and Bill Belichick. Reimer is a replaceable part. The Brady radio spot is not. If Reimer keeps his job, he has Brady to thank. Earlier Monday, Brady told Kirk and Callahan:
“Well, I think that — I’ve tried to come on this show for many years and have showed you guys a lot of respect. I’ve always tried to come on and do a good job for you guys, so it’s very disappointing when you hear that, certainly. But my daughter or any child, they certainly don’t deserve that.”
Then he added, “I’ll obviously evaluate whether I want to come on this show again, so I really don’t have much to say this morning. So, maybe I’ll speak with you guys some other time.”
As Super Bowl controversies go, this one didn’t register compared to some of the doozies from past years. But anything about Brady is big news as he continues to defy the aging process at 40. He is trying to win three Super Bowls in four years for the second time in his career.
He is much more relaxed than he was at the Super Bowl last year. His mother Galynn was in the midst of cancer treatments and had not attended a Patriots game all season. It was not until five days before Super Bowl LI that Brady received word his mother’s medical team had cleared her to travel to Houston. It was also the first time that all three of his children had come to the Super Bowl.
One year later, his mother is doing much better and will be at Super Bowl LII. So will the rest of his family. And as a bonus, his mother’s family is from Browerville, which is about two hours from Minneapolis. When the Patriots have played the Vikings, about 50-100 family members and friends have come to watch him play. He will have a lot of people at Sunday’s game.
“That really is my roots. It’s very much a part of who I am,” he said. “My mom lived here 18 years. I was lucky to come back every summer and winter sometimes. It was a great experience or a kid from California to have this other part of my life. It’s still very special.”
He went ice fishing with his grandpa. He learned how to milk a cow.
Now he’s come back to his second home as a kid to try and become the first player in NFL history to win six Super Bowls. Charles Haley also won five — two with the 49ers and three with the Cowboys.
Brady confirmed Monday night he has no intention of quitting, which is not good news for the Jets.
“I never want to be a detriment to the team,” he said. “As long as I’m playing at a high level, make the commitment to take care of myself year-round, I will continue to play. Things change quickly, anything can happen, but obviously I want to keep playing. I love playing. I love playing for the Patriots.”
Just leave his kids out of it.