Tom Brady is the undisputed GOAT, at least in terms of NFL quarterbacks. He defied Father Time and played at a high level well into middle age, winning an unheard-of seven Super Bowls. His last, in 2021, was perhaps his most impressive as the 43-year-old Brady pulled off the feat in his second year with a new team in Tampa. Needless to say, when Tom Brady offers advice, people tend to listen.
Brady recently offered some advice and encouragement to the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team as they embark on their World Cup competition. However, it wasn’t quite the advice many thought he would give the ladies as they began international play.
The women’s team is enduring criticism after they apparently disrespected the National Anthem ahead of their match against Vietnam over the weekend in New Zealand. Millions of Americans witnessed most of the team stand for the Anthem without singing or even placing their hand over their hearts. Their stoicism stood in stark contrast to the Vietnam team that enthusiastically participated in the singing of their own national song.
Of course, this lack of patriotism has become a problem for a country that is struggling with division and political strife. Since the Biden administration took office, the clear divides that already existed have been exacerbated by a president that has effectively labeled half of the country as domestic terrorists.
Sports has been a particularly problematic area in recent years. Since Colin Kaepernick took his misguided knee to protest perceived social injustice, the disrespect shown to our flag and country by professional athletes has only served to stain our image on the world stage. Now, it appears the ladies have furthered that damage in New Zealand.
While a message from Brady to the team politely asking them to honor their country and National Anthem would have been preferable, Tom instead took the safe route and basically ignored the controversy. Brady simply said this: “It all starts tonight. Team USA is gearing up to do something I was never able pull off: a three-peat. I just wanted to give a shoutout to our squad as they go for their third straight World Cup. We’re all back here watching, cheering for you guys. So bring it home.”
Perhaps the disrespect was actually just perceived and not intentional. Sports fans are now programmed to watch for things like kneeling and talking during the Anthem, and the ladies were doing neither. What will be interesting will be seeing if things change moving forward. If the team is aware, the onus is on the coaches to assure the players are conducting themselves in a respectful manner as representatives of their country.
As the tournament begins, womens soccer is mired in controversy, as low ticket sales has forced the FIFA president to essentially beg fans to buy tickets: “New Zealand, we want you. We need you. It’s never too late to do the right thing. Come to watch the matches. We need full stadiums to warm us all up.”
This all ads up to a very bad look for Womens soccer. After fighting for, and being awarded equal pay with the men, the womens game is already being plagued by poor sales, and the United States Women are being perceived as disrespectful to the country that is awarding them equal pay. Tom Brady might not be enough to help this mess, but singing or placing a hand over the heart for the National Anthem could be a good start.
Featured image screen grab from embedded YouTube video
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