Tom Brady Didn’t Pass on a Chance to Slam Sugary Soda and Cereal
Tom Brady is many things to many people: Super Bowl hero, cheater, greatest living quarterback, and, perhaps, public health crusader.
Rather than talking about Deflategate or his team’s 4–0 season start, the New England Patriots star this week made comments on The Dennis & Callahan Morning Show, a Boston-area radio program, that led one Motley Fool writer to ask if Brady is “the NFL’s version of Food Babe?”
Responding to a damning Boston Magazine story about his trainer, Alex Guerrero, whom the Federal Trade Commission said faked being a doctor and sold unproven miracle cures, Brady went after the food industry.
“You probably go out and drink Coca-Cola and think, ‘Oh yeah, that’s no problem.’ Why, because they pay lots of money for advertisements that think that you should drink Coca-Cola for a living?” Brady said. “No. I totally disagree with that. And when people do that, I think that’s quackery. And just the fact that they can sell that to kids? That’s poison for kids.”
“You keep eating those things,” he later added, turning his ire to Frosted Flakes, “and you keep wondering why we do have just incredible rates of disease in our country?”
A 2013 study published in the journal Pediatrics found that for 100 leading athletes, food and beverage deals were the second-largest category—after sporting goods—of paid endorsments, with NBA players holding more food industry deals than any other sport. The researchers found that 79 percent of the 62 food products endorsed by the athletes were “energy-dense and nutrient-poor,” and that more than 90 percent of the 46 beverages endorsed “had 100% of calories from added sugar.” Which is to say, these incredibly fit and athletic men and women aren’t exactly shilling for health food products.
While the kind of pointed remarks Brady made aren’t all that common, there have been instances of athletes admitting that they don’t eat the foods their smiling faces help to sell. Last year, LeBron James said at a press conference that he had stopped eating McDonald’s six years prior, when he got serious about his health and training. Problem being, the chain pays him $4 million a year to promote Big Macs.
LeBron followed the candid moment by saying he eats McDonald’s “every day” and laughing. “Every day. Every day. Every day. I had it this morning. Egg-and-sausage McMuffin. All day.”
As for Brady, he earns about $7 million from endorsement deals with companies such as Under Armour and Ugg, but unlike other NFL players and top athletes in other sports, the Patriots quarterback does not have major deals with food companies. He has been a paid spokesperson for Glaceau Smartwater, however, and the New England Patriots have an endorsement deal with Pepsi.