“Make America Great Again” is a call to arms for the modern day white supremacist. Presidential candidate, billionaire bigot and renowned fascist Donald Trump has plastered that slogan across every piece of merchandise, sign and speech that supports his campaign. The nostalgia that the slogan bears is harkening back to the days where this country was even deeper enveloped by hatred and oppression than it is now. In the present, Trump is unabashedly longing for that hatred to come back and with force. In the last few months, Trump has called for a ban on Muslim immigration, incited an assault of a Black Lives Matter protestor and labeling Mexican immigrants as criminals. Shamelessly, Donald Trump has brought hatred and racism into the limelight in its most pure and obvious form. His vitriolic speech and violent ideas, in his mind and in the minds of his millions of supporters, are all in the interest of bettering America. The call to “Make America Great Again” is a call to violence and a call to empower bigots to audaciously parade their hate.
When these words carry so much hatred and so much venom with them, how is it that Tom Brady, one of this country’s most popular and highly regarded athletes, can publicly brandish one of Donald Trump’s hats in his locker? His ownership of the racist paraphernalia was discovered during a post game interview where the hat was out in the open. Of course, this goes well beyond Tom Brady’s choice of casual headwear: Brady and Trump have had a long time correspondence and some may even say, a friendship. After Trump’s proposal for banning Muslim immigration, Tom Brady was briefly questioned on his feelings towards Trump and his rhetoric. Brady, rather politically, shied away from answering the question, reiterating his friendship with Donald and wishing to stay out of the discussion.
The questions basically ended there. But they should not have.
Brady is not only a public figure, but he is also, theoretically, a leader of an NFL team. The Patriots, along with every other team in the NFL, has a diverse locker room with men coming from all different cultures and walks of life. In spite of this, Brady chooses to publicly display a symbol of hate in the locker room and maintain support for the shining light of white supremacy in America. It is no matter that their friendship is older than Trump’s political involvement, Trump’s disgusting prejudice goes back decades and has only grown stronger and louder with every day. For anyone to support Trump is an indictment of their values. However, for a public figure like Tom Brady to do so appropriates Trump’s behavior on a massive scale. Tom Brady calling Trump a friend and donning one of his hats is a ringing endorsement of the 21st century Hitler wannabe and Brady’s refusal to speak on Trump’s rhetoric, when questioned, is an even bigger injustice.
In the face of oppression, it is important to be vigilant. Words are powerful and a condemnation from a figure like Brady of Trump’s language could go a much longer way than many would think. Hearing someone as highly regarded as Brady speak out against a massive battle call against Muslims would be a massive moment in degrading Trump’s stance. However, Brady stayed silent, and that silence is violence.
Brady has his first amendment rights, just as everyone else does. If he wants to support someone as vile, hateful, regressive and problematic as Donald Trump, it is his right to do so. However, it is the right of his teammates to question Brady’s humanity, as is it our right to question his support for Trump and his silence on his Neo-Nazi proposals. If Brady wants to show any bit of goodness, he should shed himself of any trace of “Make America Great Again” and denounce Trump. America can become great through unity of all people, and Trump is a divider and a bigot. But who knows, maybe that’s what Brady wants too…