Welcome to the peak of our civilization. When all the stories of this broken, fractured and surreal rip in the fabric of spacetime we call 2020 came together. One Venn Diagram of Covid-19, a polarizing president and a quarterback leaving his team, the intersection of which was a White House conference room. Has there ever been a moment like this in our history, where the line between crisis, politics and pop culture were blurred to the point of being completely erased? I mean, during the Spanish Flu of 1918, when 675,000 Americans died, was Woodrow Wilson in the White House spending five minutes talking about how he's very good friends with Babe Ruth and wondering how he's going to do in New York? Maybe he did and this isn't so bizarre in the grand scheme of things. But it certainly seems like it is.
Listen, everyone is entitled to their opinions on Trump. And I've got my hands full as it is without going to bat for the guy or the job he's doing. But give him this, and it is a rare trait among politicians. When he talks sports, it's not bullshit fed to him by handlers to make the candidate they work for seem more relatable to Joe Sixpack and Karen Soccermom. In Massachusetts we've had a long line of sheltered, out-of-touch Political Science majors who couldn't name an athlete without a teleprompter, but who always managed to find a box next to the Fenway dugout in October. Ted Kennedy once referred to the then most talked about figures in the country as Mike McGwire and Sammy Sooser. John Kerry said his favorite Sox player was Manny Ortez. And Boston mayor Tom Menino once bragged during a Super Bowl wager phone call with another mayor about how the Pats have Gonk and Vince Wilcock. And no, not one of those is a typo by me.
So you've got to at least hand it to Trump for being able to conduct a normal conversation with one of Brady's old Michigan teammates about Drew Henson, his inability to hit Major League breaking pitches and Drew Bledsoe, like every normal guy I know. You can argue he should know other things instead of retaining 20 year old sports information, but ye who is without sin on that can throw the first stone. My trivia brain works pretty much the same way, so I have zero problem with it.
Of course one thing that factors into this that makes it even more weird and awkward is not a week ago Brady talked about his relationship to Trump with Howard Stern. Even mentioning that he was invited to speak at the Republican convention but basically said fuck that ragtime. “Then the whole political aspect came, and I think I got brought into a lot of those things because it was so polarizing around the election time," he said. "It was uncomfortable for me, because you can’t — and not that I would undo a friendship — but the political support is so different than support of a friend. Adding, “I didn’t want to get into the political thing.”
But based on the way Trump was talking, they're still golf buddies and nothing is going to change that. Anyway, hopefully the people who were asked to come to the White House to talk about surviving the scare of their lifetimes got to talk as well. Or maybe they just listened to POTUS talk about late '90s sports the whole time. In 2020, anything is possible.