Seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady recently spoke out in support of athletes who have prioritized their mental health over their position in the spotlight. Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles are two athletes who have recently faced criticism for their decisions, as they both pulled out of major events in their sport of choice.
Osaka withdrew from the US Open and Biles decided not to participate in a majority of the Olympic competitions, to which Brady lent his support to both of them.
“It’s interesting,” the former New England Patriot shared with USA Today in August. He elaborated and explained, “I think there are so many young people in sports. Obviously, Naomi’s really young. Simone’s really young. I’m 44. When I was 24, I certainly didn’t have all the answers to all the different pressures and the adversities that you face. I don’t know if we have expectations for people that we should have all the answers, have all things figured out at young ages.”
Tom Brady understands the struggles of growing up in the spot light.
Continuing his statement, the quarterback expressed the sentiments that he understands the difficulties of growing up with the entire world watching. The world of professional athleticism already comes with lots of pressure, and to essentially grow up in front of an audience full of people makes the pressure all the more intense.
“It’s very difficult to deal with a lot of things that are thrust upon you when you have a degree of success…It’s very difficult to deal with a lot of things that are thrust upon you when you have a degree of success,” he shared.
“So, there’s absolutely challenges to be dealt with and adversities to overcome at that age,” Brady furthered his commentary. He then went on to discuss his own challenges that come from living in the spotlight, as he has had over twenty years of experience.
“Even at 44, you’re dealing with different things and adversities… So, life has its challenges for all of us. You just hope that people can manage them and get through them in as healthy way of a way as possible and that you can learn from them and that they make you into a more self-aware person. And that’s obviously what I hope for Simone and Naomi.”
“I think I’ve really just tried to rely on people that I’m around that can really keep me grounded and stay focused on what’s really important,” Brady stated when asked how he responds to the pressure of being a superstar athlete. “Yeah, wins and losses are important for all of us and performing our best. For me, it’s always been not trying to let people down. That’s been a great motivator for me in my career.”
He also shared that a big motivator is the fact that he doesn’t want to let his teammates down. While tennis and gymnastics are very independent sports, football insists on teamwork in order for someone to be successful.
“I always want to feel like I put my team in a position to be successful. So, that’s a big part of my motivation. I probably would have never done well in individual sports. There are different psychological challenges for those two. So, I have a great group of teammates; I rely on them to help me when I’m not where I want to be. That’s just a blessing about playing team sports. I admire the people that can deal with them individually and it’s definitely a challenge,” the quarterback explained.
Brady finished his statement by offering, “You’re always going to have low points. Things aren’t going to go the way you want. A lot of times you learn more in your losses than you do in your victories. It’s great to win. But the self-evaluation is a lot different when things are more difficult and when things aren’t going well.”
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