BOSTON (CBS) — Tom Brady wanted to do a good thing and share a positive message with his Instagram followers. Unfortunately, though, Tom Brady didn’t spend any time fact-checking. And now he’s getting called out.
The former Patriots quarterback and current Buccaneers QB shared an image to his Instagram story which said that there have been “more suicide deaths than coronavirus death past two months.”
“So wash your hands and wear your masks but don’t forget to be nice to people and look after yourself,” Brady’s shared message concluded, with Brady adding the word “Truth” to the post.
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) October 27, 2020
While the latter part of the message remains universally true, the first part is false, according to Politifact.
The fact-checking website noted that about 4,000 people die every month from suicide. It also noted that in June, more than 19,000 people died from the coronavirus, and “nearly 22,000 people died” from COVID-19 in the past 30 days.
“There’s no way this can be true,” Dr. Jonathan Singer, president of the American Association of Suicidology Dr. Jonathan Singer, told PolitiFact.
In an average month, about 4,000 people die from suicide.
In the month of June, over 19,000 people died from the coronavirus. In the past 30 days, nearly 22,000 people died.
— PolitiFact (@PolitiFact) October 27, 2020
“For this to be right, you would need a rise in the suicide rate that is just impossible,” Dr. Singer added.
“There are no national numbers that back this up,” Politifact’s Jon Greenberg wrote. “COVID-19 has been killing people at a rate that is at least three times greater than suicide historically.”
Politifact reached out to Brady, who didn’t respond.
The sharing of memes as “information” is obviously a common problem on social media, as sharing a post with one tap of a finger is much easier than doing research. This incident shows that even the quarterbacking GOAT — a man who has 7.8 million Instagram followers — is not immune to that phenomenon.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.