BOSTON (CBS) — Roughly two hours after Patriots head coach Bill Belichick stepped to the podium and discussed his public support of Donald Trump for president, quarterback Tom Brady stepped on the same stage and said he’d much prefer to talk about football instead of politics, as per the request of his wife.
“I talked to my wife and she said I can’t talk about politics anymore,” Brady said of his wife, Gisele Bundchen. “I think that’s a good decision for our family.”
Brady, 39, has kept his political leanings private for the entirety of his professional career. But on Monday night, on the eve of the election, Trump told a crowd in New Hampshire that Brady called the candidate earlier that day to say that he had voted for Trump.
Trump, of course, won the presidential election on Tuesday over Hillary Clinton.
On Wednesday, Brady was asked why he gave permission to Trump to share his vote with the world.
“Uh, why did I give him permission? So you’re assuming I gave people permission?” Brady replied to the question.
When asked for clarification on whether or not Brady did in fact give Trump permission, the quarterback said, “I’m just going to talk about football this week.”
Last fall, a red “Make America Great Again” hat was spotted hanging in Brady’s locker by the media. Though it was very early in the race and it was before Trump had earned the Republication nomination, Brady said he was hoping Trump would win the presidency.
“I hope so. That would be great,” Brady said in September 2015. “There’d be a putting green on the White House lawn, I’m sure of that.”
Brady told “60 Minutes” in 2005 that he was neither a Republican nor a Democrat.
“You know, I’m actually independent. I’m actually an independent, and I have been for some time,” Brady told Steve Kroft. “There’s no doubt this world needs a lot of help.”
Brady did join the Patriots for championship visits to George W. Bush’s White House but notably skipped the team’s trip to visit Barack Obama following the Super Bowl victory two seasons ago.
Last month, Brady opted to not answer a direct question about his support for Trump, and he largely stayed the course on that front on Wednesday.
“I just want to focus on Seattle. At the end of the day, I don’t, you know, I mean, I have a lot of relationships with a lot of people, and I don’t think a lot of people are entitled to what my conversations are with friends of mine or people that I may speak with,” Brady said.
Earlier Tuesday, Belichick discussed the letter he sent to Trump, saying he was supporting a friend and that his support was not “politically motivated.”
With regard to the polarizing election, Brady said he has no concerns about the locker room growing divided over politics.
“Well I think you have a lot of respect for the guys, and I certainly do, that I’ve always had for everybody in our locker room. We’re all on the same team. We’re all from different places, different backgrounds, different ages, races, ethnicities, beliefs. But when you come in a locker room, you’re all trying to put whatever feelings you have about anything aside to try to to accomplish a common goal,” Brady said. “I think we talk a lot about distractions, because that takes away from your focus of what those goals may be. But we have a very close locker room, and it needs to be that way. Some of the best teams I’ve ever been around have the closest locker rooms.”
Brady was asked what his reaction was upon hearing the news that Trump had won.
“I was asleep. I was getting ready for this week. I mean, this is a big week for me and our team,” Brady said. “I just think I’m always I think a very positive person. I think these are certain times for our country where there’s always change and transition, and it happens with the presidents every four years or so. I think I’m always happy when people experience success. I was happy when President [Bill] Clinton won, I was happy when Barack Obama won twice, or when President [George W.] Bush [won]. I think it’s all competition and I was happy when the Cubs won even though I’m not a Cubs fan. I was happy when the Cavaliers won. I think just as an athlete, you realize that a lot of people put a lot of things into competition, and when people go at it, you have respect for whatever outcomes there are. I think one thing that’s been a hallmark of our team is we’ve never finished games and then blamed other people. You always give respect to your opponent and try to do better the next time.”