Thomas J. Russo
Let me preface this by saying I’m not from New England, nor am I from Atlanta, so I didn’t really care who won Super Bowl LI. I’m not a sports fan in general. That said, there is clearly some serious unpacking we need to do about this.
Since the alignment of the Patriots’ bigwigs—i.e. their owner and Tom Brady for example—toward Trump has come out, more and more people have been asking questions about what it means to support the team.
Can you still support the Pats despite their clearly conservative, alt-right-leaning owner? Can you rally behind Brady being the GOAT when he refuses to recognize the plight behind his “positivity”?
I suppose his need for a positive attitude is appropriate considering he subscribes to an archaic masculinity rooted in a false sense of athletic supremacy, yet his wife still made over $16.5 billion more than him last year. That’s none of my business, though…
We are all aware that Tom Brady is not the first player to win five Super Bowls, right? That honor actually goes to Charles Haley, defensive end for the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowls XXIII, XXIV, XXVII, XXVIII, and XXX. I wanted to bring this out just so we’re all on the same page, here.
Regardless, can you still enjoy the Patriots’ Super Bowl win?
Sure you can. The Patriots, as a team, are a symbol of New England—of Boston—not of Trump’s regime.
Don’t get me wrong, here. I’m not denying that Trump’s regime is a racist, xenophobic, classist, sh*t-storm that needs to be stopped and evicted from the White House.
I’m also not saying that Trump’s supporters should be absolved of their guilt. We all knew that voting for him meant voting for the ideals he held. There’s no hiding that fact.
If you support Trump, you support tearing apart undocumented families, indiscriminately murdering people of color, depriving children of education, ripping away healthcare from those who need it the most, and increasing the already rapid rate of which we’re destroying the environment.
The Patriots’ owner is a Trump supporter, their QB is a Trump supporter, but not every player follows that pattern. There’s no reason you can’t rally behind your team’s insignia while still acknowledging and admonishing the obviously disgusting parts of that team (like Tom Brady.)
If you’re on a softball team and you win finals in your division, is your team any less deserving of the win if your main catcher is Steve Bannon’s brainwashed kid? No, it’s not.
Is Simmons College an overtly toxic place because it has some toxic people who don’t know how to have appropriate discourse with each other? No, it isn’t. As long as we call out those people for what they are we can still enjoy the experience as a whole.
You can support Colin Kapernick and be excited over the Patriots’ win in the same way you can disapprove of President Drinan’s plans for the school but still love Simmons. The two are not mutually exclusive—provided you remain acutely aware of the negative aspects of either and actively make efforts to resist them.