“I am not a fan of Tom Brady the person anymore.”
BOSTON (CBS) — Those aren’t typically the words spoken by a Massachusetts resident who spent 15-plus years worshiping at the altar of Tom Brady and still cares about the New England Patriots, but that is the new reality for Luke O’Neil.
The freelance writer (Esquire, Washington Post, Boston Globe, many more) joined Michael Hurley in studio for an episode of The Hurley Edition Podcast, and he discussed how Tom Brady’s relationship with Donald Trump has permanently eroded the adoration he once felt for the Patriots’ quarterback.
“I think that this whole Trump era has driven everyone insane, certainly myself. I’ll fully admit to that. People will be like, ‘Oh, you’re unhinged about Trump!’ Yeah. I am unhinged,” O’Neil said. “I honestly think that it’s disgusting and I think anyone who is friends with Donald Trump, I don’t care how long you’ve been friends with him, you’re a piece of [expletive]. And, there’s just no excuse for Brady to not have even made like a halfhearted condemnation. … I think it would have been the easiest thing in the world for him to say, ‘I’ve been friends with Donald Trump for a long time, I do not support X, Y and Z. I do not support sexually assaulting women, I don’t support saying this and that about Mexicans of Muslims.’ That would not have been in any way controversial for Brady to say something like that. He could have covered his ass a little bit; he didn’t even have to mean it.”
O’Neil insisted it’s not a Republican/Democrat thing and that it instead relates specifically to his rather strong feelings on Trump.
“I’m not saying [Brady] has to be perfect in his own personal character. I’m just saying when an authoritarian, fascist, sexist, racist piece of [expletive] dumbass is about to become the president, you can maybe say something,” O’Neil said. “I just think it’s a really rare situation, and I think every day we get to see more and more how if a couple of people had taken it seriously and disavowed the guy … who knows?”
O’Neil, who has interviewed Brady twice and has also covered the Best Buddies charity football game at Harvard, also expressed disappointment in The Boston Globe’s recent revelation that the Best Buddies foundation has paid millions of dollars to Tom Brady’s charitable trust over the years.
“It’s just disappointing. Why does he need to be paid to go play flag football for two hours and then ride a bike on the Cape? He needs millions of dollars for that?” O’Neil lamented. “It takes two days out of his life, if that. The thing at Harvard Stadium, where he plays flag football and then he goes to the dinner afterwards, it’s like three hours maybe. One day of his life. And then the next day they go do a bike ride on the Cape. He’s got a lot of time to [work with] other charities.”
All that being said, O’Neil hasn’t fully ended his Patriots fandom.
“Because sports poisons your brain, I will still hope that the New England Patriots Football Company throws the ball good,” O’Neil said. “I think what has happened for me is that instead of not being a Patriots fan anymore, I think the 20 percent of sadness that I would feel on the bottom when they lose and the 20 percent of happiness I feel on the top when they win have been stripped away.”
Brady wasn’t the only topic discussed. O’Neil talked about his recent story for Esquire, in which he described the recent discovery of his own exercise bulimia.
“Basically what it is is an unhealthy obsession with exercising, to the point of harming yourself or suffering from depression and anxiety if you can’t exercise. It’s essentially a form of bulimia, but instead of vomiting, you exercise obsessively to make up for the calories you consume,” he explained. ”
Sharing such personal stories is a regular occurrence for O’Neil, who said that comes naturally to him. And he said that most people do the same, even if they don’t realize it.
“I think that social media has changed things in a way, where most of us are confessing in a way, even if we aren’t overtly doing it. Like, you can’t help but show who you really are if you’re posting on Facebook,” he said.
Hurley and O’Neil also commiserated over how unhealthy a Twitter obsession can be, and O’Neil also explained why Emo Night Boston is important to him.
You can follow Luke on Twitter @lukeoneil47.