Here’s what Cameogate comes down to: Did Tom Brady know either before, during or after the production of “Living with Yourself” that his scene would feature him exiting a spa at a strip mall?
As more details leak out, it seems that Brady’s frustration Saturday afternoon was justified — partially, anyway.
In case you missed it, Brady has a cameo in the recently released sci-fi Netflix series “Living with Yourself,” which stars Paul Rudd. The scene features a refreshed, spry character exiting a strip mall-based “spa” before saying it’s his “sixth” visit — an obvious reference to the New England Patriots quarterback’s six Super Bowl championships. Now, the point of the scene is that Brady, like all who enter the spa, is a clone, regularly recycled to give him the upper-hand in life. It’s a tongue-in-cheek nod to those who believe Brady first and foremost is a cheater.
However, the scene also was widely interpreted as a shot at Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who in February was charged with soliciting prostitution at Orchids of Asia day spa in Jupiter, Fla. Those who drew such conclusions had one question for Brady: How could he go through with this, knowing how it would be received, particularly by Kraft?
Well, it sounds like the 42-year-old might have been duped by Timothy Greenberg, the mastermind behind “Living with Yourself” who also happens to be a New York Jets fan.
You see, Greenberg claims the scene was conceived years ago and that Brady agreed to it before the Kraft story ever broke. He also claims that he and the showrunners were shocked Brady remained in the fold after the allegations were brought against Kraft. Greenberg also specified that the scene was shot at a strip mall in Massachusetts, indicating Brady knew exactly what was going on.
But those claims fly in the face of Brady’s version of the story.
During media availability after Saturday’s Patriots practice, Brady (among other things) said the scene was shot on a green screen. That claim was followed up by NFL Media’s Mike Giardi, who suggested that Greenberg and his team manipulated Brady and hid the on-the-nose nature of the spa visual from him. Giardi also shared a photo of Brady and Rudd in front of a green screen.
Take a look:
Of course, all of this should be taken with a grain of salt. It’s entirely possible that Brady and his team are using certain reporters to force the narrative they want. That said, Brady probably deserves the benefit of the doubt, as we know of nothing he’s done that would suggest he’s capable of such inconsiderate behavior. Moreover, there’s no reason to believe Brady has an issue with Kraft, especially not one that would lead to such public humiliation.
Still, we don’t know whether Brady was aware of the final version of the scene anytime before the show released Friday. If he was made aware (why wouldn’t he have been given a screener copy?) then he should’ve gotten out in front of the story before it had a chance to become what it now is. Regardless, we don’t know all the details.
But none of the aforementioned evidence excuses Brady from blaming and attacking the media.
Is it the fault of the media, or of anybody, for that matter, that the scene was interpreted the way it was? It features Tom Brady exiting a spa at strip mall looking like a brand new man. The sign above the door features Asian lettering, for crying out loud. Is Brady really dumbfounded and offended that people thought this was a reference — either malicious or innocently humorous in intent — to Kraft, who allegedly solicited prostitution at a day spa that was connected to a sex-trafficking ring?
No, Brady is smarter than that. Him attempting to put this all on the media (which, yes, deserves some blame for jumping to conclusions) is totally disingenuous. The candor and passion he displayed Saturday afternoon unfortunately were countered by him kind of looking like a jerk.
If Brady truly was screwed over by Greenberg, then perhaps he should’ve said something like this: “You know, that scene was not supposed to look like that. I’m pretty upset about it, and it was taken entirely out of context. I can see why it’s being viewed that way, but I assure you that was not my intention. I’m really sorry to everyone, especially Mr. Kraft, that this has happened. It’s a very unfortunate coincidence.”
Ultimately, Brady’s tone and unrest with the media is of little importance compared to what may or may not have happened during the making of “Living with Yourself.” And, at this point, it seems slightly more probable than not (everyone’s favorite phrase in New England) that Brady was the victim of a few people that wanted both to make him look bad and also to generate a ton of buzz.
They definitely succeeded in both regards, with a little help from Brady himself.
Thumbnail photo via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports Images