Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Takin' care of business, Tom Brady edition

He's rich. He's handsome. He's talented. He's got a wife who, by all accounts, is even richer, more handsome, and more talented than he is. (Plus a lot brainier.) He's a tremendous athlete. He's a winner. He's a leader. He seems to be a doting father and loving son. He's involved in the community. As a quarterback, he may well be the GOAT. (That's Greatest Of All Time to you non-sports fans.)

Forget the Deflategate kertuffle that cast aspersions on our Tom's character. In  these parts, Tom Brady can do no wrong. In fact, we even light a candle to this guy. (St. Thomas of Brady, play for us AND pray for us.)

So it was tough to pick up a copy (virtually pick it up, that is) of Sunday's Boston Globe to find an article on Tom, his somewhat sketchy business partner, and their cosy relationship with the Patriots.

Tom's partner has, in the past:
...faced federal sanctions after falsely presenting himself as a medical doctor and deceptively promoting nutritional supplements. 
One notable product that Brady’s partner, Alejandro “Alex” Guerrero, promoted — and the quarterback enthusiastically endorsed — was marketed as helping to prevent and heal concussions, a grave health issue for NFL players and a challenge to the sport’s image. The Federal Trade Commission effectively shut down sales of Guerrero’s “neuroprotective’’ drink, Neurosafe, in 2014, repudiating his “extraordinary claims.’’ (Source: Boston Globe)
Earlier, Guerrero "who doubles as a fitness specialist", had been santctioned by the FTC for claiming that his beverage "could help prevent or cure cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes." Some of his earlier partners have accused him of fraud. Guerrero's also on record as having lied abou conducting a clinical trial that showed that almost all the terminally ill patients who followed his advice lived beyond five years, as well as aggrandized himself by claiming that Richard Branson bought out one of his companies for $500M. (When you lie, go big or go home, I guess.)

I'm a big believer in redemption, that people can turn their lives around, that someone can mess up big time and put it behind them. (Some Catholicsm really did manage to rub off.)

Yet it does seem peculiar that someone as image-conscious as Brady would throw in with someone with such a shady past, and that the Patriots (an organization that's supremely image-conscious) would also be in cahoots with the guy.

The company that Brady owns in partnership with Guerrero, TG12 Sports Therapy Center, is located in the shopping/entertainment complex next to Gillette Stadium, where the Pats play. The Pats hire the center to treat and advise (on nutrition) a number of the Pats players.

I'm sure the team figures why not. If it works to keep Brady in such superb condition - he's 38, an age at which few football players are still on the field, let alone on top of their game, as Brady is - why not share the treatment and advice with everyone else? 

And yet...
Some of Guerrero’s former associates also wondered why Brady and the Patriots would want to forge financial relationships with an entrepreneur whose history of legal trouble includes business partners accusing him of fraud.
And the Pats go above and beyond - probably because Tom Brady is so valuable to the franchise - giving Guerrero sideline access and travel privileges on the team's charter flights. Guerrero also got one of this year's Super Bowl rings. 

For Brady's part, Guerrero turned him from a junk-food junkie to the picture of nutritional health, and also got TB12 on a training regimen that maximizes Brady's "endurance and flexilibty rather than brute strength."

All for the good.

The guy (TB12) really is an amazing specimen.

But there's taking someone's advice, and there's going into business with him. 

And Brady's all in. 

When he does end up hanging up his spikes, Brady is thinking of going into the health business. Which is a disappointment to those who hoped he would run for public office in Massachusetts. (And a relief to those of us who feared that he would.)

It may turn out that Brady should have contented himself by working with the "good" Alex Guerrero - the body coach - and avoided doing business with "bad" Alex Guerrero - the false-claiming, supplement-shilling charlatan. (Brady, in the past, endorsed Neurosafe, the drink that supposedly guards against brain damage. The FTC went after Guerrero on Neurosafe, and the product was withdrawn from the market.)

Maybe Guerrero has turned the corner on his false-claiming ways, and his business is now on the up and up. 

Certainly, that's what Tom Brady believes.

But for all his football brilliance - and I do believe that Brady is magnificent in this respect - Brady may not be all that good a judge of character, or have particularly sharp business instincts.

Remember, this is a guy who kinda-sorta-maybe endorsed Donald Trump because he's a good guy who Brady had golfed with.

Meanwhile, the relationship with Guerrero certainly puts Tom Brady at risk of being tainted if Guerrero turns out to be a recividist who reverts to his huckster ways. If not, I guess we can look forward to TB12's post-Pats career as a health guru. 

Personally, I'd rather see him pushing supplements and balanced nutrition than running for political office. (Any friend of Donald Trump's...) But going into business with someone with Guerrero's past history doesn't seem like a particularly Hall of Fame, GOAT play...

We'll see whether Brady gets sacked on this one or finds a receiver for a TD.

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