Despite his association with President Donald Trump, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady says he won’t be talking politics ahead of Super Bowl LI in Houston on Sunday.
During a media session, Brady told USA Today that while he thinks people have a right to “take sides,” he also has a right not to discuss politics.
“I want to keep my focus on where it should be for me at this moment,” he said. “I’m trying to be the best that I can be for my team. And I don’t want to bring any distractions to our team. I don’t want to bring any negativity to our team. We have enough of that as it is.”
USA Today also pointed out that Brady had shown support for Trump when he photographed one of Trump’s signature “Make America Great Again” hats in his locker. On Election Day, Trump revealed to a crowd in Manchester, N.H., that Brady had called to endorse him.
Trump explained their phone call: “So I said, ‘So Tom, you voted for me, you support me, am I allowed to say it tonight at this massive crowd in New Hampshire?’ He said, ‘If you want to say it, you can say it.’ OK? Tom, that’s what a champ is all about.”
When asked about the protests against Trump’s executive order banning Muslim immigrants and refugees from seven countries from entering the U.S., Brady said,“I haven’t paid attention.”
“I’ve been so busy with football the last week and a half,” Brady added. “I also want to be positive. I don’t want to say anything negative about anybody, or anything, or anybody’s political beliefs.”
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick echoed a similar sentiment, refusing to talk politics or Trump. Atlanta Falcons player Mohamed Sanu, a Muslim, also declined to discuss the current political climate.
“I’m here because of my football talents, not because I’m Muslim,” Sanu told reporters. “And I’m here to talk about football. So if you guys are going to continue to ask me about my religious beliefs, then I’m going to continue to tell you the same thing: I’m here to talk about football.” (Sanu did say that he has an opinion on the Muslim ban but wouldn’t discuss it.)
Meanwhile, Patriots owner Robert Kraft elaborated on his relationship with Trump to the New York Daily News. He explained that Trump had been a supportive friend to him after Kraft’s wife, Myra, died in 2011.
“He called me every week to see how I was doing, invited me to things, tried to lift my spirits,” Kraft said about Trump. “He was one of five or six people that were like that. I remember that.”