A headline is supposed to hook you into reading a story. But sometimes, a headline can misconstrue what was actually said and this is certainly the case with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and the issue of several teammates choosing not to go to the Trump White House later this year. USA Today published a story in which it used a Brady quote of “putting politics aside” and making a misleading headline.

Here’s the headline which was tweeted by the USA Today Sports account:

That is not what Brady said. In talking to Pro Football Talk’s PFT Live program, Brady did not say that his teammates who are electing not to go to the White House should “put politics aside,” he was explaining why he didn’t go the White House in 2015 saying it was a scheduling conflict (We’ve put the Brady sentence in bold):

“There’s certain years, like a couple years ago, I wanted to go and didn’t get the opportunity based on the schedule — we didn’t get told until I think like 10 days before we were going, and at that point I had something I’d been planning for months and couldn’t get there. . . . It really is a great experience. Putting politics aside, it never was a political thing. At least, it never was to me. It meant you won a championship and you got to experience something cool with your team, with your teammates. Everyone has their own choice. It’s an offseason. These days are valuable for everybody. You only get so much time with your family and friends, and if people don’t want to go they don’t want to go and that’s their choice.”

The reaction to the misleading heading was swift:

To its credit, USA Today has revised its headline, but its original tweet and story still has some buzzing.

It’s one thing for a headline to be clickbait, but it’s totally another thing to misconstrue what was said. USA Today has to do better here.

[Pro Football Talk]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.