As Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady walked into the Raymond James Arena before the big game on Sunday, he was noticeably missing the one accessory that no 2021 outfit is complete without: the face mask.
Self-described activists Lisa Hendricks unleashed her hot take that Brady, who has been COVID tested and approved to play ball, should have been wearing a mask. Her reason? He should mask not for his own health, not for the health of those around him, but to signal to Americans that we should all be masking all the time.
"Tom Brady could have used his platform to wear a mask and be a role model for responsible behavior," Hendricks wrote. "But nooooooo, he had to be a maskhole. #SuperBowl"
With full face visible and confidence emanating from every step, Brady was flanked by mask-wearing Tampa Bay staff as they walked into the stadium. His lack of mask was not a problem for so many who responded to the thread, many of who took issue with Hendrick's call-out of Brady and not the fact that he wasn't wearing a face mask.
Vice President Kamala Harris' niece chimed in as well, saying: "What's Tom doing without a damn mask?"
Mandi Beirly of TV Guide Magazine also had problems with Brady's lack of face covering, saying "On a Zoom with 2 friends and we’re torn between talking about how good Tom Brady looked walking in and what a a-hole to be the only one without a mask on screen."
"Imagine thinking that, in Feb. 2021, TomBrady wearing a mask here would, what, make millions of young lads suddenly decide to put their mask on tighter tomorrow?" One user asked.
"Virtue signal received," one user wrote.
While another user pointed out that Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback, was plenty masked up as he headed for the game.
Still another pointed out that masks weren't worn on the field, and that football is a contact sport.
Still others chimed in to shame Brady for non-mask-compliance, intoning his parents' difficulty with COVID and their tough recovery.
Sports writer Zack Cox pointed out that Brady's parents have asked him to mask more often than he does.
Still others could not contain their horror at Brady's ongoing refusal to mask.
To be clear, no one thinks that Brady is sick, or is spreading illness, or contracting it, given that COVID testing is particularly rampant in the NFL, they think that he should wear the mask purely for show.
It's all about the pageantry of masking so that others do what he does. We are told by our peers and by our betters to behave according to their dictates in order that they have an easier time getting others to behave that way as well. But the tolerance for this moralistic shaming over a piece of cloth may be nearly at its end. Perhaps those who try to control us, instead of those who refuse to be controlled, will be the ones shamed for that audacity, instead of the other way around.