In a press conference, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addressed his political ties to President-elect Donald Trump and decided his explanation was all that needed to be said, refusing to answer questions about it afterward.
This decision came on the heels of Trump reading a letter that Belichick wrote to him at one of his rallies. Belichick assumed correctly, as many wanted to question him not only about the personal letter he wrote to Trump but his political ties to Trump as well. Belichick being Belichick, chose to get out in front of the issue and made a statement about it before reporters could question him. He essentially stated that he and Donald Trump were longtime friends and that the letter was simply written in support of a friend.
Anybody who spends more than five minutes with me knows I’m not a political person. My comments are not politically motivated. I have a friendship with Donald.
Video: Belichick is asked a follow-up question about his letter to Trump, says “Seattle” over and over pic.twitter.com/wRZvgX1IVJ
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) November 9, 2016
Now Belichick has every right to support whoever he wants, for whatever reason he wants. Furthermore, I don’t think it’s anyone’s business to know all of Belichick’s political views or reasons behind them. We all have our own beliefs and our right to them and the right to keep them private. However, Belichick is not just anyone, he is the head coach of one of the best and certainly one of the most successful football franchises in the NFL. So when a presidential candidate who isn’t just a candidate but the most polarizing figure in politics not only announces Belichick’s support for him but reads a personal letter from Belichick, there is an obligation for the Patriots coach to answer a few questions.
Had Trump not named dropped Belichick, there would be no need for him to come out and give us any information about their relationship. But Trump did name drop Belichick which was obviously going to make the news and warrant some follow-up questions from the media. Belichick, however, dodged questions and failed to do his job (his own mantra) by refusing to engage with the media who were invited into this relationship by Trump himself.
When asked about the letter he wrote to his friend Donald, Belichick repeatedly said, “Seattle”. Yes, Seattle was his answer to all of the follow-up questions he was given concerning his relationship to Donald Trump in a very Marshawn Lynch sort of way. The problem here is not with Belichick’s obvious political preference or any of his longtime friendships, but the fact that he refused to be a head coach and answer follow-up questions from respected journalists who were trying to do their job.
Not surprisingly, he walked away from that press conference completely unscathed. But c’mon, is repeating “Seattle” when asked relevant questions that pertain to something he wrote professional or appropriate, no. But like many times before, Belichick got away with this behavior and was hardly criticized for it.
The same goes for Tom Brady, who when asked about his affiliations with Trump, thwarted questions on both occasions and in Wednesday’s presser also added that his wife said he can’t talk politics so he would only answer questions regarding football.
I’m just gonna talk about football this week.
Video: Tom Brady implies Trump didn’t have permission to use his name in support, says Gisele told him not to talk politics anymore pic.twitter.com/jREXGJZyeu
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) November 9, 2016
Somehow, Belichick and Brady are never appropriately criticized or penalized for their lack of transparency, making them the NFL’s most blatant example of white privilege. If that were Cam Newton, I guarantee there would be more backlash by his lack of communication. Chances are Cam would be called immature, unprofessional, and probably a lot harsher things from certain groups of people. So the fact that Belichick and Brady continue to get passes is inconceivable, especially with such relevant and appropriate lines of questioning. Not only do these two get passes others in the league would not, they expect them and have become the most glaring examples of white privilege in the NFL.
For the record, I could care less who Belichick or Brady are friends with or who they vote for. But when you are Bill Belichick and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, the most dominating team in the league, you owe it to the media and the public to answer all relevant questions. They are the creme of the crop and the face of the league and as such have a higher responsibility to the media and public than most.
The NFL should step in and consider fining Belichick for his Marshawn Lynch-esque “Seattle” statements. Somehow, accountability eludes the New England duo as they are protected by a veil of privilege. They have liberties and powers not afforded to all, when they should be treated equally.