New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady almost always says the right things during media interviews. If you have ever listened to him during his weekly post-game, paid interview by John Dennis and Gerry Callahan on Boston sport talk radio station WEEI, you know that he never throws a teammate under the bus and strictly adheres to the “there’s no ‘I’ in team” attitude.
However, even the best spokespeople trip up now and then, including Mr. Brady. But making matters worse following a slip up? Well, there’s really no excuse for that given the sophistication of this particular franchise.
The latest brouhaha took place yesterday when Brady was speaking to the media about Sunday’s upcoming game against the San Diego Chargers. It was the same day Brady was honored for the 18th time as AFC Player of the Week, following last Monday’s spectacular offensive performance against the Miami Dolphins.
When asked what his message to fans would be in advance of Sunday’s game, Brady said: “Yeah, start drinking early. Get nice and rowdy. It’s a 4:15 game, a lot of time to get lubed up. Come out here, and cheer for the home team.”
Brady took some heat for a statement which many interpreted as encouraging fans heading to Gillette Stadium to get intoxicated before the game. So the Patriots public relations office issued this statement: “He meant ‘stay hyrdated, drink a lot of water. Be loud, drink responsibly.’ ”
Really? Is that what Tom meant? Since when once does getting “get lubed up” or “nice and rowdy” have to do with drinking H2O?
This is how organizations dig a deeper hole for themselves. Instead of shrugging it off and taking advantage of the halo effect that follows Tom Brady’s healthy reputation, the Patriots spoke down to their stakeholders (aka, the fans).
Instead, why not a statement such as this: “Tom got caught up in the moment and was having fun with the media. Everyone is well aware of what Tom represents and what his value set is. Of course he wasn’t serious, and if Tom or the Patriots have offended anyone, we are sorry. What we want most for our fans is for them to have a fun and safe experience and to hopefully enjoy another Patriots victory.”
Enough said. Time to move on. Go Pats!