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February 5, 2016

Tom Brady is a lot of things. He is generally hated outside of Boston, and especially in New York. He is either vastly overrated or chronically underrated, depending on how many Super Bowls your team has won or lost. He is either a cheater, or the victim of a conspiracy.

And, ostensibly, Brady is also a Donald Trump supporter. Which is unfortunate. It’s a stupid decision, really. I, for one, find some amusement in the fact that I have been given yet another reason to dislike the man.

But saying he should “shut up and play” is too far. That is where I, as we all should, draw the line. Let me put that phrase in a way that sounds a lot more offensive, but says the exact same thing. “Dance, monkey, dance.”

Brady, and every other athlete that the phrase is used against, is suddenly restricted to providing your entertainment, not being actual people. Somehow, playing a game inherently means that one is less intelligent, and therefore does not get to have an opinion. That, in particular, is annoying.

Since when were regular people more qualified to talk about anything than an athlete? For decades, if not centuries, athletes were relegated to the realm of couch entertainment, barred from actually being active citizens.

Sure, we have the occasional Kurt Schilling, whose opinions are so awful that ESPN had to tell him to take a seat, but he still has the right to claim that ISIS won the first Democratic debate. By extension,

Cam Newton has the right to claim (somewhat rightly, too) that the NFL has had consistent issues dealing with black quarterbacks, given the history of depicting them as either athletic freaks of nature over being smart, calculating field generals.

And, by extension again, Tom Brady has every right to vote for Donald Trump, because they’re friends. That same privilege goes to the players who wore “I Can’t Breathe” shirts, came out of the tunnel with their hands up, donated to political parties, or expressed an opinion about politics. This becomes especially important in the case of stuff like Brady voting for Trump.

That felt like chewing on glass, but it’s true. These athletes generally go to college, for at least a year. Even if they don’t do well, they still went. Even if they never go to a class, does that make them less qualified than some random self-important Bernie-Bro, Hillary supporter, Cruz supporter, or anyone else?

Of course not. Criticize their choice all you want to, but never say they don’t have the right to make that choice because they are not an “expert.” Because if they don’t, neither do you.

Anthony Adams
Sports Columnist

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