NFL star Tom Brady stepped in it with the military community on Twitter on Tuesday after comparing the NFL season to going on deployment.
In an episode of his “Let’s Go!” podcast, Brady began discussing the NFL football season with co-hosts Larry Fitzgerald and Jim Gray. Partway through the episode, the discussion turned to the topic of work-life balance — that’s when Brady said, “I almost look at like a football season like you’re going away on deployment in the military.”
“It’s like ‘man here I go again’ and there’s only one way to do it and I think Jim we’ve talked from time to time, just about how do you enjoy the certain moments of it you know and the reality is you can really only be authentic to yourself right?” Brady continued. “Whatever you may say, ‘oh man, I want to you know make sure I spend a little more time doing this’ you know during the season the reality is when it comes down to it your competitiveness takes over and as much as you want to have this playful balance with the work balance you’re gonna end up doing exactly what you’ve always done which is why you are who you are. You’re gonna go ‘how the do I get it done’ you know?”
Many in the military and veteran community were not thrilled by Brady’s comparison of the work-life balance of a multi-millionaire NFL player’s sports season to that of a military service-member making much less to go into far more dangerous settings. The comments prompted many on social media to mock the career NFL quarterback.
“Tom Brady comparing football season to going on a military deployment. Lol Lets get together sometime and exchange deployment stories @TomBrady,” said one Twitter user with a picture of himself with his combat kit.
Another Twitter user and self-identified Marine knocked both Brady and the NFL itself. “Tom Brady comparing 17 games of what has basically become touch football to a combat deployment is exactly why the NFL still does not matter.”
“This guy!!! At no point during my deployment was I able to go home every night and see my family,” tweeted a self-described Army veteran. “He doesn’t have to fear for his life unless you talk about that garbage roughing the passer call a couple weeks ago.”
Navy veteran and MSNBC producer Adam Weinstein referenced Brady’s loss to Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII in 2018. “Does he still have trauma from his ambush by the Foles Militia at the Battle of Minneapolis?”
“Where’s my millions? Brady has Sports media shooting at him all the time; we had Al-Qaeda and an Insurgency in Iraq. Pretty much the same I guess,” tweeted a self-described Marine and Army veteran. “Always thought this guy was grounded. He’s just another out-of-touch spoiled, wealthy elitist.”
One Twitter user suggested Brady’s comparison between his NFL season and a military deployment might have come about as a result of the frequent use of militaristic language throughout sports media and the close relations the U.S. military has cultivated with the football league.
“Ok, devil’s advocate here: ALL November (and most of the season), we spend so much time linking football to military action, from all the verbiage to pregame flyovers to camo hoodies,” user Chris Webb tweeted. “Is Brady suddenly talking about himself in those terms so unexpected?”
Brady has tried to pay respect to the military community throughout his professional sports career. The quarterback has visited troops stationed abroad, provided physical therapy sessions for wounded veterans and released custom cleats to raise money for the Navy SEAL Foundation.
Brady’s talk about managing the work-life balance of a professional sports career comes amid widespread rumors of a potential divorce for the 23-season football player. Divorce is common in the military community as deployments take service members away from their families for months at a time.