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TB12 Fitness Got a Government Bailout

PFT -  Tom Brady earned $2.998 million in the fiscal year ending February 29, 2020 in money-for-nothing marketing and royalty payments via the NFL. That, along with the rest of his holdings, did not stop his zealously promoted (by him) lifestyle brand from accepting money for nothing from the federal government after the pandemic struck.

Via NBC Sports Boston, the Boston Sports Journal reported on Monday that TB12 received a Paycheck Protection Program loan in the range of $350,000 and $1 million. The figure comes from federal data made public on Monday.

I totally get why people are outraged about this. It’s a normal, human reaction. I mean talk about an easy, slow moving target. A preternaturally handsome man who gets a $3 million check just for letting the NFL use his likeness and sell a jersey with his name on the back, who is married to one of the worlds most successful fashion moguls and who just signed a deal for $50 million is hardly the most sympathetic figure in the world. I imagine every single one of us knows at least one small business owner who was put under by the shut down and will never be able to open back up again. So sure. Dragging Tom Brady for accepting PPP money is low hanging fruit.

But I’m just not feeling it. I respect that it’s a terrible look for him. And I’m not defending him because he’s my quarterback, because he’s not. I’ll let some Tampa Bay blogger worry about the fall out of this. As far as I know, my quarterback is Cam Newton/Jarrett Stidham and they didn’t get $350,000 and a million dollar government loan.

Still, I’m gonna take a hard pass on demagoguing this one. Whether you like it or not, TB12 Fitness Is a small business. It qualified for the funds. Brady might have a moral obligation to dig into his own pockets but he doesn’t have a legal one. He doesn’t have to be George Bailey using his honeymoon cash to keep the Building & Loan operating.

The reality is that if he returned that money it’s not like it’s going to go to some family whose big shop went under in the pandemic. It’s nor is it going to go back into the federal treasury and some grateful government accountant will graciously deposit it in the fund that’s earmarked for buying books for underprivileged kids. Nor is it gonna go to pay off the national debt. It won’t do a damn thing. It would just be some numbers on a page that no one will ever see or care about. 

Hate Brady all you want, but the real villain here is the system. Rich people stopped being held accountable about $20 trillion ago. The sticky fingered Kleptocrats on both sides of the aisle in Washington have all been raking up some of this money. Billionaires have gotten it. Good friends of mine who own their own businesses and work their asses off have gotten it. So a goofy lifestyle brand that has a couple of gyms and massage tables is going to end up getting it too, regardless of whether they should. As Clint said in “Unforgiven“, deserving‘s got nothing to do with it.