Fumbled exit by GOAT
Brady retires and disses Pats fans on the way out
I am certain that Tom Brady envisioned his retirement announcement going smoother than what transpired over the last few days. I expect Brady would have wanted to announce his retirement on his own terms and timing. Maybe it is naïve for him to believe he can control the story, but, in any event, someone in his orbit leaked his intention to retire to ESPN.
Roll back the clock a few days.
Adam Schefter tweeted last Saturday that “Tom Brady is retiring from football after 22 extraordinary seasons, multiple sources tell @JeffDarlington and me.”
Schefter is the EF Hutton of NFL talking heads. When Schefter talks, everyone listens. Media exploded while Tom Brady remained quiet and Brady’s agent threw cold water on ESPN’s scoop.
Brady’s longtime agent, Donald Yee, sent word to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer that Brady “will be the only person to make the announcement with complete accuracy.” Additionally, Tom Brady Sr. told NFL Network’s Mike Giardi that the retirement story was “total conjecture” and that his son “has not made a final decision one way or the other and that anybody that says that he has is absolutely wrong.”
So was it wrong for ESPN to break the Brady retirement story? My expectation is that Schefter and Darlington had solid sources from the Brady orbit that he was going to retire in the near future. They probably did not have Brady himself as the source, so there was an inherent risk in going public with the story.
Grasshoppers got to jump and reporters need to break stories. It’s probably not bad journalism, but just the risk that reporters who want to be first are willing to take.
Brady took to the airwaves live with Jim Gray on Sirus XM last evening to address the retirement story. Brady used his podcast to reiterate that he is still weighing his decision to return for another season of football or retire. He said that he is “responsible for what I say and do, and not for what others say or do.” True and fair enough. Apparently, Brady only required a few more hours of weighing to decide to hang up his cleats.
So it feels like the retirement train derailed. The sequence of events over the last few days unfortunately makes Brady seem petty. Last evening, he denied he had made a retirement decision through a proxy and then in his own words. This morning, he retired.
In my mind that validates ESPN’s initial story break. Saturday’s reports may not have been fair, but they appear accurate. Brady’s explanation appears shallow at best.
Then this morning, Brady’s Instagram retirement post poured gasoline onto this fire. Almost a thousand words and several pictures, but not a mention of the New England Patriots fans.
Brady claims to be responsible for what he says and does. He is also responsible for what he does not say and do.
Team Brady is media savvy. The omission is no accident. I don’t know what Brady’s beef is with the New England Patriots, but it should not bleed over to his fans. Brady will endure and will control the damage of what happened today. Tom Brady provided a generation of joy to his fans in New England. That will not change. Time will fix this.
Tom Brady deserves better than what has transpired. People today should be talking about the great things he achieved on the football field. Instead, everyone today is talking about his fumbled retirement announcement.
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