New England Patriots

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 17: New England Patriots player Tom Brady at the grand opening of the TB12 Performance & Recovery Center on September 17, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

Tom Brady (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff,

Tom Brady shouldn’t be practicing with all these COVID-19 outbreaks taking place. We need to protect the elderly.

Jokes aside, the 42-year-old continues to make all the scream-sh***ers go poopy in their diapers on social media, as he defies recommendations from NFLPA doctor Thom Mayer to avoid practicing in groups for the time being. Brady and several Tampa Bay Buccaneers teammates are still hitting the field at Berkeley Prep to work on installing the 2020 Brady-ified version of their offense. All as the virus begins to spread through NFL teams and surge back in the state of Florida. Brazenly risking utter embarrassment, he is.

It’s frankly terrifying.

Not coronavirus, Brady throwing a simple five-yard hitch to goddamn Mike Evans.

Brady riled up the internet folk with a new Instagram story on Thursday, digging deep for the obscure Franklin Delano Roosevelt quote: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” So obviously he prompted immediate reactions that he’s some kind of COVID truther, that he doesn’t believe the virus even exists. It’s a false flag, dammit.

But here’s the thing: even in Florida, where deaths have ticked upward and cases have more than doubled in the past two weeks, in total the state has had 501.2 cases and 15.4 deaths per 100,000 people as of Thursday (per the CDC). Contrast that with Massachusetts, one of the hardest-hit states in the country, which sits at 1,559.1 cases and 115 deaths per 100,000, despite falling numbers in recent weeks. Maybe we in the Bay State should be a little careful in our glass houses with how this whole thing has been handled overall.

Furthermore, even if literally anyone at these workouts contracts the virus, they’ll have a nearly 100 percent chance of surviving and may not even need to go to the hospital. If Brady catches COVID-19, odds are the worst thing to happen to him would be the most spectacular fake It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia intro ever created.

If you’re still reading and haven’t already stomped off to shriek “iRrEsPoNsIbLe!!1!” on social media, just understand that this isn’t a call to ignore all the warnings and safety guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19. Socially distance wherever you can. If you can’t, wear a mask. Any decent human at least has a baseline level of respect for those who are vulnerable to the virus, and for the battle to smother it. If you’re one of the unfortunate souls who has lost a friend or family member in this mess, you at least deserve that.

But some are acting like Brady’s out here spitting down their grandma’s throat. Just because the Bucs are practicing doesn’t mean they aren’t following safety guidelines or constantly getting tested. It is my humble opinion that Brady is not dismissing the existence of the virus, he’s simply refusing to live his life in total fear of it. It’s a quality that has made him one of the most clutch athletes in history. I’d rather assume he’s being an adult about his lack of fear than pretend like he’s the same as this a-hole.

All I’m saying is … what were we expecting? The NFL wasn’t going to just have zero positive tests. Unless you really, really want sports to shut everything down until next summer, you have to let leagues assume some risk. You have to accept that the virus is going to hang around for a while and we have to do what we can to prevent spreading it – while going back to work. If Brady and his teammates catch the virus, and still go back and work out, and refuse to quarantine or wear masks, and hawk Brady’s new immunity juice in the process? Alright. Then he will have officially lost it.

But for now? I choose not to be on the side of Mike Florio wagging his cane. I choose to believe that Brady and the Bucs are accepting the risks, and approaching them responsibly. As the NFL’s own chief medical officer said, mitigate the risks and be responsible for each other. Find the sensible middle ground between hiding in your bunkers and licking toilet seats. Because if you want football back in the fall, that balance needs to happen.

Anyway, I also bloviated about this topic in the newest Sports Hub Sidelines podcast with myself and Ty Anderson. Have a listen below.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at