Hey Going Downs readers!
Below is a guest post from my husband, Brenden Gallagher. The show he worked on for the last few years, Warrior Nun, premieres TONIGHT on Netflix! Decider.com gave it a glowing review, with Buffy comparisons and UpRoxx likes the “smart-ass dialogue.”
Quarterbacks Worth Gossiping About
By: Brenden Gallagher
Hi Everyone! It’s Brenden, Claire’s husband and Going Downs’ Sports Correspondent, here. Wait. Wait. Don’t close the tab. Hear me out.
Theoretically, there is going to be a NFL season in 2020-2021. I know this sounds totally insane -- and it is -- but that isn’t stopping the collection of billionaire failsons that constitute NFL ownership from trying anyway. Don’t worry ladies, there are also a handful of fail-daughters, such as Sheila Ford Hamp (owner of the Detroit Lions), whose only Wikipedia accomplishment outside of her inheritance of the Ford-Firestone auto fortune is her college tennis career.
While the NBA is taking the craziest approach by creating a sanitized bubble city where all of the players will live, the National Football League deserves credit for ill-advised plans.
Despite already having a number of COVID outbreaks across various teams, the NFL is pressing forward with revolutionary ideas like letting money-hungry owners set their team’s stadium capacity and encouraging them to cover small portions of their seating with ads on tarps. CBS News reports, “The other upside to the tarps is that the league will allow teams to sell advertising on them, which would be one way to recoup some of the money they might lose due to lower attendance numbers.” Now that’s what we call compassionate conservatism.
One silver lining to needlessly exposing millions of people to COVID just so we can have the game that for so many symbolizes American empire and capitalist consumption is the gossip. Usually, this newsletter is consumed with the ridiculous antics of Hollywood celebs and their hangers-on, and I’m here to encourage you to look to the world of professional sports for equally outlandish antics.
In particular, NFL quarterbacks with their fabulous wealth built-in-a-lab-from-childhood sheltered privilege and tendency toward being secretly into Donald Trump, are a great source of hilarious gossip and humorous anecdotes. Here are just a few that have emerged in recent months.
Tom Brady (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): Tom Brady is the Gwenyth Paltrow of NFL quarterbacks. The former Patriot and current Buccaneer is far more wealthy than he has any right to be, not as smart as he thinks he is, and has put a substantial amount of his wealth into pseudo-science.
Brady’s TB12 fitness brand hawks snake oil to aspiring professional athletes who think they are just one elixir away from playing like their hero. TB12 is named for the twelve principles that the QB outlined in his 2017 book The TB12 Method. The principles include “feeling better — that’s the key” and “balance and moderation in all things.” In the book, Brady claims he is “the most hydrated person in the world,” among other things.
Not only does Brady use his name to sell his bogus fitness scheme, but he contractually forces the teams he plays for to put TB12 branded stores and training centers in their stadiums. In May, Brady came under fire for implying a line of TB12 vitamins called “Immunity” can make one immune from COVID-19.
Conversely, Brady recently stepped into COVID truther territory when he posted a picture of himself flouting pandemic precautions during a practice on his Instagram story along with the slightly butchered FDR quote, “Only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” It is worth noting, of course, that FDR would have loved a polio vaccine in his younger days.
Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers): As a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, Big Ben has been an albatross around my neck from very early in his career. The quarterback has two very credible sexual assault allegations in his past, and is known for his extreme Trump supporter energy. He has publicly opposed solidarity with Colin Kaepernick’s protests against police brutality as early as 2017.
Big Ben is also intimately wrapped up in the ongoing Donald Trump - Stormy Daniels saga. In Daniels’ memoir, she claims that Big Ben walked her to her hotel room after a party hosted by Trump following the future president’s urging.
Roethlisberger eventually asked, "Do you come to Pittsburgh a lot?" Daniels wrote, before the two exchanged phone numbers.
"'Is this your real number or your ho phone?' I asked as I typed. Trump and Ben both laughed, and Ben recited a second number. 'I'm not gonna call you on your ho phone.'
"Trump grabbed Ben's shoulder and leaned in. 'I told you she was smart,' he said. 'What did I tell you about this one?'"
"At my door, Ben said, 'Oh, can I see your room?'
"'I'm really tired,' I said, awkwardly holding the key card. He looked at the card until I put it in, and I didn't open the door all the way. Just enough for me to slip through. As I got behind it, keeping my face out, I noticed he'd raised his hand to rest it on the door.
"He pushed lightly, I pushed lightly. Did he know he was leaning on the door? Was he just steadying himself?
"'Can I come in?' he said.
"'I'm just so tired,' I said.
"'How about a good night kiss?'
"'Well, no, I am here with your friend,' I said, literally trying to play the Trump card.
"'Come on,' he said."
She writes she suddenly increased the pressure enough to slam the door.
"He stood outside, not leaving. Every now and again he'd knock, rapping his knuckles in a line low along the door. 'Come onnnn,' he repeated in a singsong voice. 'I won't tell.”
Most recently, Roethlisberger offered a weird Zoom address to a men’s Christian group in which he confessed to a previously unmentioned pornography addiction.
Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints): While NOLA QB Drew Brees generally keeps a lower profile than Big Ben or Touchdown Tom, he is another one of those “stand for the flag” guys. This landed him in hot water following the resurgence of BLM protests following the murder of George Floyd.
Brees staunchly opposed Kaepernick’s protests in 2014 when such a stance was fashionable, and he tried to do so again this time around, however, public opinion has shifted, even among NFL fans.
First, Brees had to apologize for offensive comments he made regarding the protests. Then, he had to apologize for his Instagram apology, in which he used the first image that comes up when you look for something like “White Hand Black Hand Connected.” And then he had to take part in an all-hands Zoom meeting with his frustrated teammates. Oh, and also, his wife had to apologize.
And these guys are just the tip of the iceberg. In the last few years, we’ve had Cam Newton’s sexist comments to a reporter, Aaron Rodgers’ weird family feud with his Bachelor contestant brother, Russell Wilson’s weird relationship with his premarital virginity (and losing it to Ciara) and much much more.
Whether there is football this season or not, just know that if your partner is into football, you can get into football gossip, a sport everyone can enjoy at a safe social distance.
While it is unclear if this year’s NFL season will be canceled, you can rest assured that at least one dumb gunslinging quarterback will be.