Zach Petroff | Opinions Editor
Oct. 27, 2022
Tom Brady, a seven-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, is under scrutiny for a comment made while interviewing NBA star Kevin Durant last week on his “Let’s Go!” podcast on SiriusXM, along with Larry Fitzgerald and Jim Gray.
“I almost look at a football season like I’m going away on deployment for the military. And it’s like, ‘Man, here I go again,’” Brady said.
In a culture that has recently taken offense to musical artist Lizzo playing James Madison’s flute, the Little Mermaid’s skin color and the sexual orientation of a Scooby-Doo character, its fitting that the 23-year NFL veteran’s words sent enough shockwaves to require an apology.
The audacity of the future-hall-of-famer to dare compare a non-typical job that requires employees to be away from their family for an extended period of time to another non-typical job that requires employees to be away from their family for an extended period of time is unfathomable, apparently.
Brady used a press conference later in the week to apologize.
“Before we start, can I say one thing?” Brady said. “Earlier this week, I made a statement about playing football and the military, and it was a very poor choice of words. I just want to express that to any sentiments out there that people may have taken it in a certain way, so I apologize.”
The worst part of this entire controversy, for me, is not the sensationalized sports reporting, nor the manufactured outrage. It’s that I agree with Brady’s original statement.
The parallels between an active-duty infantryman and a pro athlete, while imperfect, are quite apt. They are both male-dominated fields, they require an immense amount of physical dedication and both take people away from their loved ones for a long period of time.
Even before his well-crafted apology, it was quite obvious that Brady was not downplaying all the sacrifices of military service. If anything, he was recognizing a hardship that a lot of these young people endure.
When did we start getting so offended by the truth?
What is unsettling is the amount of outrage that this caused. I know we’re currently in a culture war where everything is scrutinized under a polarized scope, but it’s hard for me to wrap my head around the military community being upset with these comments.
They just don’t have the numbers to support it.
According to the Pew Research Center, as of 2018, only about 7% of the adult American population are veterans. Of that, only about 1.4 million (or less than 1%) of Americans are active duty.
Of the 1.4 million active duty members, only about 193,442 (15% of service members) deployed overseas.
Even fewer have deployed to a combat zone.
Once again, a certain group of people are hijacking a group of people to push their irrational messaging. There are so many more-pressing issues that the military community are rightfully outraged by that get conveniently ignored by the public.
Instead of finding fault with Brady’s comments, why don’t we turn our need for outrage toward real military-related issues like PTSD, the VA health care system or the disturbingly high number of sexual assaults that occur within the ranks.