I just went to a major news site and the banner headline screamed out:
“Breaking News – It’s over. Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen to reportedly file for divorce today after 13 years of marriage.”
Below the breathless headline ran a montage of photos of the couple over the years.
This “Breaking News” item was given dramatically more prominence than other real breaking news reports such as:
Some might excuse the headline by rationalizing that it just became “official” so it was elevated to major headline status. No. Such an answer would be disingenuous at best.
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The Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen saga has been splashed across virtually every news site in the nation – and the world – for the last several weeks. Almost all of it filled with speculation over fact.
One of the major reasons being that the personal pain the couple is experiencing has proven to be a major click-bait producer. “Clicks” for digital news sites eventually equating to advertising dollars.
With regard to Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen’s lives being placed under the most powerful lens of a microscope subjected to the harshest of blinding light, others might be tempted to say: “Well, they’re public figures so this is the price they pay.”
To some extent, that may be true. But if that is the metric to be used, then at what point does common decency and compassion come into play? At what point do media executives say, “Enough is enough?”
Brady, arguably the NFL’s greatest player, and super model Bündchen are public figures. But, they are also human beings with feelings. A man and a woman who presumably entered into a marriage believing it to be for the rest of their lives.
Now, no matter the “He said, she said” of it all, that expectation, hope, and dream has come crashing down upon the two of them.
And when such a crash happens, the ripples of pain spread quickly to shared children, parents, siblings, and friends.
Imagine being the children of Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen, or the son he shares with Bridget Moynahan. How are they processing this glaring bombardment of their parents or father’s private marital woes? What cruel remarks are being directed at these children by others via social media or in person?
Those children, along with the parents and siblings who love them, become collateral emotional damage thanks to the indiscriminate red-hot spotlight trained on the “power couple.” Does anyone truly factor that into the banner-headline equation?
As this NFL season has played out so far for Brady, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback – miserably up to this point compared to the rest of his career – many in the sporting world have commented that “Brady looks ill,” or that “Brady has lost so much weight,” or “Brady looks like all the joy has gone out of his life.”
Gee, I wonder why.
For those who do have the misfortune to go through a break-up or a divorce, 99.9% will do so in relative privacy. Even at that, anyone who has gone through one will tell you that the mental and even physical toll can be punishing and takes months or even years to get over.
Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen have had that right of privacy ripped away from them. Others have deemed them not entitled to it.
Now, not only do they have to deal with a traumatic personal issue, but have to experience it as unwilling participants forced into a media machine seemingly not interested in the hurt, confusion, despair, and grieving process the couple must navigate.
At some point, even “Power couples,” “Public Figures,” and “Celebrities” are entitled to privacy, common decency, and compassion.
Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen have reached that point.
Douglas MacKinnon is a former White House and Pentagon official and author of the book: The 56 – Liberty Lessons from those who risked all to sign The Declaration of Independence.
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