Tom Brady appeared on ProFootballTalk Live for an interview with Mike Florio and naturally the conversation turned to the topic du jour, the New England Patriots upcoming visit to the White House. Brady was quoted as so:
“Everybody has their own choice,” Brady said regarding whether players should go to the White House. “There’s certain years, like a couple years ago, I wanted to go and didn’t get the opportunity based on the schedule — we didn’t get told until I think like 10 days before we were going, and at that point I had something I’d been planning for months and couldn’t get there. . . . It really is a great experience. Putting politics aside, it never was a political thing. At least, it never was to me. It meant you won a championship and you got to experience something cool with your team, with your teammates. Everyone has their own choice. It’s an offseason. These days are valuable for everybody. You only get so much time with your family and friends, and if people don’t want to go they don’t want to go and that’s their choice.”
Shortly after this interview, USA Today posted this tweet:
In an age where cries of “fake news” are waves around the nation (and our president’s Twitter account), the USA Today committed a pretty egregious error that gives fodder to the “fake news” crowd. First off, as you can see in Brady’s quote that he is talking about “putting politics aside” for himself, not his teammates. He opens his quote saying clearly that everyone has their own choice. Sadly, USA Today ignores that quote and goes with the click-baiting quote that will cause a stir, which unfortunately works.
As Florio notes on PFT, players are weary about giving quotes because they know that their words can often get misconstrued to fit a writer’s narrative for the story they want to write, not the one that is in front of them.
USA Today did update the headline, but still missed the point of Brady’s quote:
The headline is a step in the right direction, but I would update it as “Tom Brady in favor of ‘putting politics aside’ for himself when it comes to visiting the White House”. With so much scrutiny on the media now more than ever, it is important for news organizations to report the facts and not construe their narrative to give the “fake news” opposition any ammo for their cause.