On Thursday, ESPN’s Kevin Van Valkenberg published a fantastic profile of Tom Brady that’s almost certainly the most revealing article ever written about the New England Patriots quarterback.
The piece gets into what makes Brady tick, from his distrust of Western medicine to his worldview (which calls to mind Andrew Sullivan explaining Edmund Burke): “Brady has always been smart enough to accept that it’s impossible to know everything.” But the most interesting anecdote in the piece comes just after Van Valkenberg’s discussion over the controversy surrounding Brady’s support of Donald Trump. Here’s how Van Valkenberg explain’s Brady’s response to the kerfuffle:
It speaks both to the bubble that Brady lives in and the sense of loyalty he feels toward his friends that he seemed genuinely surprised by the backlash. But it wasn’t out of character. In 2012, when JPMorgan Chase lost $6.2 billion through a series of bad investments, Vanity Fair reported that the bank’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, received a surprise phone call from Brady, with the quarterback telling him to “hang in there” and that even Super Bowl champs have bad days. The two had never met.
I guess this shows a certain degree of empathy on Brady’s part, but man this is a weird thing to do, and it’s weirder still that the best example of Brady’s empathy is him telling another mega-rich dude to “hang in there” in the face of adversity. Lending support to someone who’s having a bad day is always a good thing to do, but this gets at the curious mix of insularity and the Great Man Theory that could be called the Patriots Way.