Tom Brady shared a controversial take on “nipplegate.”
During the latest episode of his SiriusXM podcast Let’s Go!, Brady gave a brief review of Sunday’s Super Bowl Halftime Show headlined by Rihanna. The seven-time Super Bowl champ went on to reveal he had missed a number of halftime shows throughout his career, as all his focus was directed toward his on-field performance. Brady said he even missed the infamous 2004 show, in which Justin Timberlake exposed Janet Jackson’s right breast on live TV.
The 45-year-old was playing for the New England Patriots at the time, and ultimately led his team to a Super Bowl victory over the Carolina Panthers.
“… We came off the field, and that was when we had the wardrobe malfunction with Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson,” Brady told his co-hosts. “[Journalists] were asking me about that, and I couldn’t even understand what they were telling me about. They were like, ‘Did you see the halftime show?’ and I said, ‘Nah, I didn’t see anything.’ I was thinking about the game and was trying to figure out halftime adjustments. It took a while for us to figure out what had gone on. That’s for the fans and not for the players.”
Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction resulted in a wave of complaints from viewers, and prompted the Federal Communications Commission to slap CBS with a $550,000 fine. Although the incident remains one of the most controversial moments in sports and music history, Brady said he believes it may have helped the NFL.
“I think in the end, it was probably a good thing for the NFL because everyone got to talk about it, and it was just more publicity and more publicity for halftime shows,” he explained. “Is any publicity bad publicity? That’s what they say, so, who knows?”
Brady’s nipplegate comments were met with swift backlash, as he failed to acknowledge the damage that was done to Jackson’s career, while Timberlake’s seemingly went unscathed.
Timberlake has maintained that the incident was unintentional, but said he could’ve handled the aftermath in a much better way. He addressed the issue in a public apology to both Jackson and his ex-girlfriend, Britney Spears.
“I’ve seen the messages, tags, comments, and concerns and I want to respond. I am deeply sorry for the times in my life where my actions contributed to the problem, where I spoke out of turn, or did not speak up for what was right,” he wrote in the 2021 statement. “I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism. I specifically want to apologize to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson both individually, because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed. I also feel compelled to respond, in part, because everyone involved deserves better and most importantly, because this is a larger conversation that I wholeheartedly want to be a part of and grow from.”