Tom Brady’s departure from the New England Patriots after two decades and six Super Bowl victories unquestionably ranks among the most notable player relocations in NFL history.
With the dust continuing to settle after Brady officially signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, several big names in sports and sports media have weighed in on what such a remarkable divorce means when analyzed from a broader perspective.
Shaquille O’Neal recently made the observation in an interview with Brandon Robinson of Heavy that Brady’s split from the Patriots illustrates how the sense of loyalty has been greatly diminished in the modern era of professional sports.
“No I do not,” O’Neal said when asked if he likes Brady’s move to the Bucs. “It just confirms that there is no loyalty in sports. When you get older, They forget about you. The day I knew I was dog meat, was when Michael Jordan left. The day I knew I was dog meat was when Dominique [Wilkins] left. The day I knew I was dog meat was when Patrick Ewing ended up in Seattle. I knew it. There’s only a few people that can stay with one franchise to twenty or thirty years. The rest of us, we’re dog meat. They get what they want, and we move on. Because everyone wants to go younger. I’m not trying to go younger, I’m trying to win right away. You can go younger with the Patriots, but you’re not bringing in anyone even close to Tom Brady. I don’t know what you do.
O’Neal went on to blast the Patriots for their purportedly questionable treatment of an organizational icon like Brady, saying the team should have engaged in a “respectful” conversation with him “out of respect.” Reports have highlighted conflicting narratives concerning the nature of the Patriots’ discussions with Brady and whether a legitimate effort was made to keep him in the fold.
Shaq clearly is taking the position that the Patriots are at fault when it comes to violating the noted loyalty issue. The fact that O’Neal views the situation from a player perspective is hardly surprising, of course.
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Hint: For those who need a refresher, these are the seven teams Tom Brady and the Patriots played in their nine Super Bowls: St. Louis Rams (XXXVI), Carolina Panthers (XXXVIII), Los Angeles Rams (LIII), Philadelphia Eagles (XXXIX & LII), New York Giants (XLII & XLVI), Seattle Seahawks (XLIX) and Atlanta Falcons (LI).