Despite their wishes, the relationship certain members of the Patriots have with President Donald Trump is not going away in the lead up to Super Bowl LI. While Bill Belichick and Tom Brady almost always refuse to answer questions about their support for Trump — including at Opening Night this week — Trump has taken an opposite approach.
Last spring, Trump mentioned Brady at a rally in Maryland. In November — the night before the election — Trump claimed that Brady called him to let him know that he voted for him and that Belichick wrote a letter to congratulate Trump on a “tremendous campaign.” Later that month, Trump talked about how Brady is innocentof any wrongdoing in Deflategate. And in January, Trump’s adviser, Kellyanne Conway, thanked “loyal” supporters like Brady and Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
Trump’s vocal support for the Patriots began before last spring, though. On Wednesday, Mark Leibovich of New York Times Magazine published a story on the “uncomfortable love affair” between Trump and the Patriots. In that story, Leibovich revealed what Trump told him in the fall of 2015 about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell:
“The commissioner is a weak guy,” Trump said. “When he made the Ray Rice deal, everybody said: You’re stupid. You’re weak. And it was such a weak deal. So now he’s going overboard with their star, Brady.”
He added: “The commissioner is a dope. He’s a stupid guy.”
Trump also said that Kraft “choked” like Mitt Romney by accepting the Patriots’ Deflategate penalty ($1 million fine and first- and fourth-round draft picks) in hopes of helping Brady land a reduced sentence:
Kraft was under pressure, Trump explained. “He choked, just like Romney choked. He said: ‘You know what? They winked at me.’ I said, ‘Bob when you make a deal, you should have gotten it all wrapped up.’ Who ever heard of making a deal like that? Now you got this mess.” Kraft should never have trusted Goodell, he said.
If you’re interested in the topic, you should definitely read Leibovich’s entire story, because there are a handful more quotes like the ones above, in which Trump talks about his great relationship with the Patriots. For instance, Trump urged the reporter to talk to Brady about their “great friendship” for his profile. He also claimed that Belichick hugged and kissed him at a Patriots game last year and said, “I love you. You’re the greatest.”
Anyway, at Goodell’s Wednesday press conference, he was asked a couple of questions about Trump. He declined to answer them:
Roger Goodell on the refugee ban: “As commissioner of the NFL, I am singularly focused on the Super Bowl right now.”
— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) February 1, 2017
Goodell asked about redacted comments in PR transcripts that refer to President Trump:
“That’s one thing I am not in charge of here.”
— Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) February 1, 2017
While Belichick, Brady and now Goodell have remained quiet on the topic, Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett did say at Opening Night that he wouldn’t visit the White House with the team wins the Super Bowl because he doesn’t support Trump.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Here’s what President Trump reportedly called Roger Goodell in fall of 2015