This past weekend, the Super Bowl-bound New England Patriots held a rally for their sweatiest fans at Gillette Stadium. Brady gave a speech. It ended… unnervingly.
WE’RE STILL HERE! WE’RE STILL HERE! Obviously, Brady is referring to his aging, decrepit, cheating-ass squad’s progression to the big game. But, imagine you didn’t know anything about football, or who Tom Brady was, or anything like that. You would think that you were watching some square-jawed grifter throwing red meat to the hogs at an alt-right rally, screaming at the libs who thought Nancy Pelosi and her gender warriors were gonna keep DECENT AMERICAN FOLKS from BEING HERE.
Of course, even if you do know stuff about Brady you may still think he’s on his way to pursuing this line of grifting. He flashed a red MAGA hat, an accoutrement that is gaining more and more traction as a symbol of white nationalism in America, in his locker back in the primary days. He wasn’t the only one! Patriots’ Coach Bill Belichick wrote a goddamn letter to Trump right before the end of the campaign that basically amounted to an endorsement, that Trump then read on stage. And Pats’ owner Robert Kraft is also his pal, and was even shouted out at Trump’s pre-Inauguration dinner in D.C. for his most deep-pocketed donors.
The whole institution of Boston sports, from root to stem, is tinged with the sort of racism that brought Trump into office. The Boston Red Sox were the last MLB team to desegregate, more than a decade after Jackie Robinson entered the league. The Sox’s first owner, Tom Yawkey, was an infamous racist whose speech was peppered with racial slurs. Larry Bird became a symbol of white resentment during his time in the NBA, his jersey appearing as a symbol of white entitlement to black spaces in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing. His large teammate, Kevin McHale, was spotted at a Trump rally during the election.
And hey, it’s not like their fans are cool guys, either! Dave Portnoy, the founder of Barstool Sports, a toxic masculinity-humping outpost for the world’s worst people, is a Boston sports fan. A Red Sox fan yelled a racial slur and threw a bag of peanuts at Adam Jones a mere two seasons ago. Yankees’ pitcher CC Sabathia told ESPN, “I’ve never been called the N-word” anywhere but in Boston.
Bill Russell, the legendary Celtics center and 11-Time NBA champion, the greatest Boston athlete of all time by a considerable margin, called Boston a “Flea Market of racism” in his wonderful memoir Second Wind. “It had all varieties, old and new, and in their most virulent form. The city had corrupt, city hall-crony racists, brick-throwing, send-‘em-back-to-Africa racists, and in the university areas phony radical-chic racists… Other than that, I liked the city.”
Remember that scumbag teen, bused into DC by his racist-ass private school to protest a woman’s right to choose, smirking at a Native American military veteran while wearing that dumb little red hat as his schoolmates stood around and did tomahawk chops? Remember how, at first, everyone saw what was happening for what it was, entitled little shits being racist and disrespectful, until this kid’s wealthy parents hired a PR firm to run interference and coach him up to do an interview where, even if he was saying the right things on paper, he still seemed like a low-boil sociopath?
The people I am sitting here roasting for their support of Trump have tried to run the same playbook. Brady backed off a little when his wife clearly told him to, said that he didn’t actually have political opinions at all, that actually he was “a positive person,” and that Trump was just his friend he supported because he always supports his friends, even if he did think it would be cool if he won. I’m not actually with him, he’s just my friend is somehow even more unnerving in its way, because what kind of weirdo do you have to be to be friends with Donald Trump? Is he a fun guy to hang out with? Is Brady really so vacant that he hangs out with this doddering fool for access to golf courses? If Brady really does want to satisfy the Daniel Radcliffes of the world, wouldn’t he find it in his heart to distance himself from the president everyone hates? But he doesn’t, presumably because he sees nothing wrong with it, because his worldview lines up with that of our racist president.
Kraft insists he doesn’t agree with Trump’s rhetoric on Kaepernick, but it’s not as if he’s cast the man aside. Belichick won’t even deign to answer a question on that matter, because he is a robotic psychopath who only thinks and talks about football.
Look, it doesn’t matter if the Patriots like it or not, they are the official team of American White Nationalism, the MAGA Boys On the Field. You can’t implicitly or explicitly support Trump, who reads speeches written by Stephen Miller as a matter of course, play in a market whose sporting culture is renowned for its racism, have a decade-plus organizational obsession with undersized white receivers, and be called, no shit, the Patriots, without getting the vile Fox News Soup that poisoned half the country on your shirt. Try to put on a bib of distancing yourself, deflecting questions, telling everyone your wife told you to stop talking about it, that shit isn’t gonna work. You’re the MAGA Kid. It’s on you forever. It stalks and haunts you.
When you root for the Patriots, you are associating yourself with a virulent and revolting strain of politics that seeks to Make America Great Again—which is to say, white, European, English-speaking. And look, I understand if you’ve been rooting for Boston teams your whole life. Fandom is a hard drug to quit. But please, look at yourself, look at who these guys put out for, and reconsider. Think about if you would want to find yourself in a crowd of sweaty, white men chanting WE’RE STILL HERE while a Trump supporter egged you on. Are you one-hundred percent sure you’re comfortable with that?