Tom Brady talked to Oprah about kneeling players during the national anthem, and he supports the message they’re trying to get across.
Tom Brady has never knelt during the national anthem of an NFL game, but he’s supporting those who do. Speaking to Oprah Winfrey in a recent interview, Brady said that while each player has his own motivations for demonstrating, it’s important that all viewpoints are both heard and respected.
This won’t go over well in some corners. There are those who believe players should stand at attention for the duration of the anthem regardless of their thoughts on political and social matters, including President Trump. Trump famously spoke out against the first player to demonstrate doing the song, Colin Kaepernick. Additionally, he called players who knelt “sons of bitches” during a 2017 speech in Alabama, something that caused widespread demonstrations around the league in Week 3 of last season.
Brady, 40, has been a lightning rod for criticism before in his career, but never for political reasons. In 2007, the New England Patriots came under fire when they were accused of cheating by spying on opponent’s signals and practices. Then, following the 2014 AFC Championship Game, Brady was accused of deflating footballs below the legal level, putting the Indianapolis Colts at a disadvantage. The NFL eventually suspended Brady for the first four games of the 2016 season.
The anthem issue was addressed by the NFL this offseason, which has mandated all players stand on the sideline, or stay in the locker room. Any players who decide to break those rules will see their team penalized by fine. It’s a horrible stance because players staying in the locker room will still draw plenty of attention — which is what the NFL doesn’t want — but they knelt to Trump, and that’s that.