FOXBORO -- When Donald Trump name-dropped Tom Brady during his rally in Manchester, New Hampshire on Monday night many wondered if Brady granted Trump permission to use his name on that national platform. Trump and Brady had acknowledged their friendships in different forums in recent months, but what Trump did was claim that Brady had endorsed him for president -- something the Patriots quarterback had not yet done publicly.
When asked on Wednesday if he gave Trump the OK, Brady looked genuinely taken aback by the line of questioning.
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"Why," Brady was asked, "did you give Trump permission to talk about your political preferences at that rally in NH in front of a nation audience?"
Brady paused for seven seconds before repeating the reporter's question: "Why did I give him permission? So you're assuming I gave people permission?"
Did you not give him permission to talk about your political preferences, Brady was asked?
"I'm just going to talk about football this week," Brady replied.
To clarify, Brady was asked again: Did you not give Trump permission to discuss a phone conversation during which, according to Trump, Brady said he voted for the now President-Elect?
"I just want to focus on Seattle," Brady said. "At the end of the day . . . I have a lot of relationships with a lot of people, and I don't think a lot of people are entitled to what my conversations are with friends of mine or people I may speak with."
Brady told WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Show on Monday that he had not yet voted, but eventually pictures emerged showing Brady submitting an absentee ballot in Brookline later on Monday.
Though Brady did not admit to voting for Trump -- "Yeah, I talked to my wife and she said I can't talk about politics anymore so I think that's a good decision made for our family," he said -- he did say that any difference of opinion in the Patriots locker room would not impact relationships between teammates or coaches.
"I think, you know, you have a lot of respect for the guys and I certainly do . . . I've always had [respect] for everybody in our locker room," he said. "We're all on the same team. We're all from different places, different backgrounds, different ages, races, ethnicities, beliefs. But, you know, when you come in the locker room, you're all trying to, I guess, put whatever feelings you have about anything aside to try to accomplish a common goal.
"I think we talk a lot about distractions because that takes away from your focus of what those goals may be. But we have a very close locker room, and it needs to be that way. Some of the best teams I've ever been around have the closest locker rooms."