Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady cashed in during the 2020 season. Now, more than 177,000 people — and counting — want him to give back.
A Change.org user recently launched a petition requesting that Brady distribute the $960,855 in government money received during the COVID-19 pandemic via his company, TB12. Founded in 2013, his health and wellness company received the money through the Paycheck Protection Program, a program to help small businesses stay open amid the pandemic. According to its official LinkedIn page, TB12 currently has 11-50 employees.
The Change.org user argues that Brady “is playing the government no better than any grifter would play a person on the street.” He is also suggesting that the football icon “should pay back this money or at least donate an equal amount of money to small businesses that would have received this money if his name did not get more attention.”
Brady has made “roughly” $263 million across 21 NFL seasons, per Sporting News. Additionally, Brady is dwarfed in net worth by his wife Gisele Bundchen, who is valued at approximately $400 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth, while TB12 grosses up to $20.3 million annually, per GrowJo.
TB12 closed its facilities temporarily during the pandemic in March 2020, as reported by NESN’s Abigail Adams. The company received the nearly $1 million in PPP money in April 2020, and the U.S. Small Business Administration released the exact numbers in December 2020, according to CNBC’s Emma Newburger.
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More to Come?
Brady earned more in 2020 than he has in any single season to date and he may not be done considering his contract with Tampa Bay doesn’t expire until after the 2021 season.
Last March, he signed a two-year, $50 million dollar free agent deal with the Bucs after 20 seasons with the New England Patriots. Brady also accrued $2.25 million in bonuses during the Bucs’ championship run.
Amid the on-field success and growing popularity of TB12, the seven-time Super Bowl champion also launched 199 Productions last year, a new multi-platform content company, according to NFL.com. The Hollywood-based company didn’t mean a move to Los Angeles last offseason, although the Los Angeles Chargers did show interest in Brady. The new venture doesn’t mean Brady is retiring from the NFL soon, either.
Brady, 43, recently reiterated that he could see himself playing beyond age 45, according to ESPN’s Jenna Laine. Bucs head coach Bruce Arians also said in the days leading up to Super Bowl LV that he “wouldn’t be surprised” about a contract extension coming for Brady.
Brady’s Charitable History
Brady’s philanthropy has drawn questions in the past.
He raised $46.5 million for Best Buddies International, a non-profit assisting people with disabilities, but the organization also gave to his non-profit, Change the World, according to the Boston Globe’s Bob Hohler in 2017. Change the World “makes grants to other organizations,” per Cause IQ, such as St. David’s School in New York, Los Angeles-based Camp Kesem that assists families facing cancer, and the Massachusetts-based Ellie Fund, which provides support services for breast cancer patients.
Hohler noted those organizations are all based on “Brady’s personal interests,” but wrote that it doesn’t appear to be illegal according to independent charity monitors. Charity Watch President Daniel Borochoff told Hohler, however, that “it’s certainly not pure altruism.”
Brady has made donations elsewhere over the years, including $100,000 to J.J. Watt’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund in 2017. Last April, Brady also pledged his involvement in the viral “All-In Challenge” to provide relief for food-insecure Americans during the coronavirus pandemic, according to NBC Sports Boston.
His TB12 Foundation also assists low-income families in athletics.