ST. PAUL, Minn. — He awoke in Massachusetts and defended his 5-year-old daughter from a trolling sports radio host. He closed out his night here in Minnesota no less resolute in his belief that his kids should be off limits to media criticism, yet showing a sense of compassion that perhaps few others would.
In the morning, Tom Brady cut off his regular appearance on WEEI over comments by Alex Reimer, who on a separate show on the same station dubbed Vivian Brady an “arrogant little pissant” while evaluating her brief appearance in Brady’s reality show. Reimer was suspended by mid-morning.
Yet by night, Brady was throwing a lifeline to Reimer, even if it may be too little, too late.
“I certainly hope the guy is not fired,” Brady said. “I would hate for that to happen. I just think any parent is really protective of their kids. I’ve never stayed away from criticism. I understand criticism is part of sports but I certainly don’t think my children or any children really deserve to be in that.
“I think we all have careers and we all make mistakes. I’d hate for someone to have to change their life over something like that. It’s certainly not what he intended. I just felt it was inappropriate. I think any 5-year-old is off limits. I think anyone would feel the same way about their kids.”
Everyone would feel that way about their kids, which is why Reimer’s career may be toast no matter how understanding Brady is. Radio is about a relationship with the host and the audience. Insulting the little daughter of the most popular athlete in Boston is an ill-advised way to build that relationship.
Brady suggested everyone should put themselves in Reimer’s shoes.
“Look, I think we all go through our life saying things we shouldn’t say or make mistakes,” Brady said. “I can express [my disappointment] and we can move on.”
Time will tell for Reimer. For Brady, he can.
Maybe it’s because he’s 40. Maybe it’s because this is his eighth time here at a Super Bowl. Maybe it’s because his children are growing up and reaching the age of personal mistakes.
Maybe it’s because the one Super Bowl he has missed of late was just a few miles from where he grew up in the Bay Area (Denver vs. Carolina). He wanted that one. So here in Minnesota, where his mother grew up, his parents got married and he spent so many of his summers has made him nostalgic for home … and all that the word entails.
All eyes per usual on Brady at the Super Bowl. All questions about how he can lead New England to victory over Philadelphia and a sixth Lombardi Trophy.
Yet for Brady, most of the answers were about someone else, usually someone close. Mom. Dad. Grandpa. Grandma. Uncles. Cousins. His wife. And yes, 5-year-old Vivian.
It was like a big circle of life. One minute he’s the dad, protecting his kid. The next he’s the kid, talking about sitting on his grandfather’s knee and learning to shoot a .22, blasting a nearby tree – “I thought it was the coolest thing.”
He told stories of catching fish up here and watching his mother or grandmother fry it up. He spoke of uncles and cousins, and lamented the struggle, even for him, to find tickets for all of them. He talked about how close of a relationship his wife, Gisele Bundchen, and his mother, Galynn, have.
A year ago, the family angle was Galynn, who spent the prior year fighting through chemotherapy. Brady, for all his fame and all his fortune, felt like a helpless son, working on the other side of the country, unable to do more.
Galynn made it to the game and Tom won another Super Bowl. Now they are both back.
So yes, there was compassion because it’s clear Tom Brady is spending his Super Bowl week counting all his blessings, acknowledging his full reality.
Some guy on the radio cracked on his kid. Many would have blown up, demanded their firing, called for their head. Some might have just gone over and confronted the guy themselves.
For Tom Brady, perspective is everything at this stage. And a man with everything doesn’t feel the need to grind down another man who is, undoubtedly, having a day of regret and shame.
Don’t fire him, Brady said. We’ve all said dumb stuff, he reminded.
Maybe Alex Reimer didn’t deserve Tom Brady, but Tom Brady, a Tom Brady as focused on family and nostalgia and good fortune as much as football, is who he got.
“Life’s too short,” Brady said. “[I’ll] focus on this game and these great opportunities that we have. I have my family here, what can get better than that?”
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