Athletes are revered individuals whom we rightfully expect to behave with class and maturity on and off the field, especially when they must accept defeat. Unfortunately, that does not always happen.
Just look at Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, who during a regular-season matchup with the New Orleans Saints ran over to his opponents’ sideline and yelled profanity at a coach:
Tom Brady went over and said something to the Saints sideline... Lol pic.twitter.com/Yym1JBoVLX— ✯✯✯✯✯ (@FTB_Vids_YT) December 20, 2021
Now obviously this is wrong, and often Brady does not have to own up to his actions or get punished in the same way that less famous players might (he wasn’t fined for his actions and felt little remorse afterward). But Shannon Sharpe, co-host of Undisputed, thinks Brady gets a free pass when he displays poor sportsmanship because he is white.
“There’s a lot of things that he does that get written off as ‘that’s passion, that’s competitiveness.’ That’s bulljive!” Sharpe argued on Undisputed. “…There’s no possible way that a Black quarterback can do some of the things that Tom Brady did and get away with it.’
That's probably true. Because there is no black QB who's appeared in 10 Super Bowls in three different decades, won seven of them and was named MVP in five. Nor is there a black player with the record for starts at QB (363) and for wins at QB (277). Nor is there a black QB with 96,969 career passing yards, or 707 career TD passes. There aren't any white players with those stats either. Brady is one-of-a-kind, a GOAT. If nobody else in the league has as long a behavioral leash as Tom Brady, it’s not simply because he is white. He's royalty.
Most athletes who have big personalities and impact their sport are often given liberties and held to different standards than the rest of the league (which is wrong but nonetheless happens). And that double-standard is evident regardless of what skin color the athlete has.
For example, Los Angeles Lakers forward Lebron James habitually displays poor sportsmanship in games by yelling at referees and criticizing league officials for their decisions that were intended to improve the league. For the most part, James evades having to take responsibility for a lot of his actions because of his stature within the NBA.
So what gives? Can we definitively say that Brady escapes punishments because of his skin color? The answer is an obvious no.
Like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, we should judge people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. Both Brady and Lebron should be held to the same behavioral standards as the rest of the league, but we should not assume they are treated differently because of their skin color. At least check the stats first.