Did you hear the joke about Tom Brady coming out of retirement?
Sorry, jokes. There are two current go-to takes regarding Brady, 44, returning to the Tampa Bay Buccanneers after a 40-day retirement.
The comedy can be summed up below. First, we have Tom Brady hating family and all the duties that fall within that realm:
And two, we have his wife, the very, very successful Gisele Bundchen, fed up with Brady’s constant presence at home.
Besides being so obvious that the attempted humor on social media has already garnered an “everybody is making the same jokes about…” roundup of these comments feel reductive. And they set back gender/family roles about 70 years. We have either a man choosing a violent sport at 45 to escape (gasp!) child care duties, or we have a wife — who, again, has a successful career — in a stay-at-home role who dislikes her lazy husband hanging out in the house.
It’s tired. It’s even too hacky for the late-night hosts (well, maybe). The thing is, we only have Tom Brady’s official social media statement on his return and his wife’s stated approval — according to NBC’s Peter King — of said return.
As the once-again Bucs QB noted on Instagram: “These past two months I have realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands. That time will come. But it’s not now. I love my teammates, and I love my supportive family. Without them, none of this is possible. I’m coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa. We have unfinished business. LFG.”
King, in his weekly “Football Morning in America” column, does lay out some more grounded reasons for the quarterback’s quick unretirement: “Legends, totally healthy, totally smitten with their profession, don’t stop loving their jobs because history says they can’t be great at 45. Don’t complicate this. A man who loves his job wanted to keep doing it. That’s exactly what happened here,” he wrote, before going more in-depth on the work coach Bruce Arians and GM Jason Licht were doing behind the scenes to convince Brady to return … along with garnering quotes from Arians and Brady’s friend/podcast partner Jim Gray about the QB’s quick comeback.
Until Brady or Bundchen actually give an interview that says otherwise, it’s probably best to take both of them at their word … and not reduce the decision to a joke about fitted sheets.