Immediately after the New England Patriots achieved a historic Super Bowl win, people started talking. Yes, when we celebrated our big win two years ago, plenty of people were angry, but that was because of deflategate and other game-related issues. (Of course, after the major comebacks the Pats made both in 2015 and 2017, I think we know cheating was never needed.) This year, the complaints came because of the USA’s current political climate.
Yes, Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft have a long-running relationship with Donald Trump. But this isn’t about them or their politics. The arguments have been about whether or not people are allowed to use football as an escape, or if they should ignore the Patriots’ politics or use them as means to judge whether or not they support the team. This isn’t about Tom Brady, this time. As somebody in the limelight with an insane amount of influence on a lot of people, he should be judged on his political stance, but this article has nothing to do with him.
It has to do with me. And the hundreds and thousands of Pats fans who were targeted after the team won the Super Bowl. I feel like this is a trend in modern day fan culture. If somebody does or says something bad and you are a fan of that person, it’s your fault. You must drop them right away or you are as bad. Suddenly, everything they think or feel is applied to you. If your favorite celebrity or sports players feels that, you must feel it as well. If they did something wrong, you were right there next to them helping.
Right after the game ended, while I was coming down from my high at that ridiculously amazing comeback, I was scrolling through my social media and came across this tweet, by that terrifying and evil neo-Nazi Richard Spencer, that read:
Rooting for the Pats! 1/ Belichick & Brady support Trump 2/ Three White wide receivers 3/ Consistently NFL’s whitest team 4/ ATL is dreadful.
To many people, this could be read as a joke, but no, it was 100% real, and I understand why it upset so many people. But it was as upsetting to read the caption somebody had added to it, saying, “it’s an act of white supremacy if you support the patriots.”
I read the caption then turned and looked in the mirror. I saw all of my female, aromantic, brown-skinned, Indian, thick-haired, big-nosed glory and thought, “Hmm, guess I’m a white supremacist now.”
Haha, right? I’m number one on white supremacy’s target list, and suddenly I’m one of them? Can you imagine how offensive this was to read? What about to the other Pats fans of color whose families may have suffered or been broken up by white supremacists? And all they wanted to do was watch a little bit of damn football, surf the internet, and not get accused of being a white supremacist! Amazing. And maybe the person who made that comment was trolling, but there were people who took it seriously.
I’ve got another one for you! After they won, somebody I follow on Twitter posted: When you see Democrats happy for the Patriots win. :/
I didn’t know where to start with this one. The Pats are called the New England Patriots. New England, yes, but considered a Boston team. Boston, of Massachusetts fame. Massachusetts, the state in which every single county went blue for representatives, and 2x as many people voted for Hillary Clinton. Boston is the most sports-heavy town in the country. We love our sports and live by our sports. And those Bostonians who were raised both as Democrats and Pats fans…well where does that all go? Do you really expect people to give up their favorite team over politics? If we abandoned things over politics, or boycotted things, nobody would watch sports, or see movies, or go on certain websites, or go to certain stores, or drive certain cars, or listen to certain music, or wear certain shoes, or this or that or this.
Finger-pointing and fan-blaming like this only pushes people like me onto the side of injustice. Some people are too exhausted to think critically, and they turn against those fighting for social justice and towards those who leave them in peace. This is dangerous, because if we make rash generalizations and accusations towards people who are on our side, we may lose them, and we are outnumbered and lose, ourselves. We must find a way to educate, not attack; to explain, not accuse.
And yes, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft should be held accountable for their political beliefs, and they should be on the side of what is right, moral and just. But it’s not their fans’ fault. Shockingly enough, people can enjoy something and also think critically about it. I love the Patriots, and I think they play an amazing game of football, but it does upset me that some of their members are buddies with Trump. Then I think about all the Patriots who refuse to visit him at the White House to celebrate the big win, and I’m not so disappointed.
When the Patriots won, I and many New Englanders celebrated a 25 point comeback in the first ever overtime game of the Super Bowl. We were not celebrating Tom Brady’s friendship with our unjust president.
I’m gonna leave you with this little piece of advice: thus far, unless you’re a Falcons fan, Tom Brady has not harmed you or anybody else. If you want to combat evil, fight the person in power who has the ability to ruin your life. He’s in the Oval Office, he’s the president and he’s doing some terrible things. Fight him, make posts about him, shame people for supporting him. And let me watch my damn ball game in peace.