Following his recent retirement from the NFL, Tom Brady has been focusing on his podcast Let’s Go!, which he records alongside fellow NFL retiree Larry Fitzgerald and sportscasterJim Gray. In this week’s episode, Tom Brady spoke on the 2004 Super Bowl Half Time show, in which Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake performed.
The performance was marked by a wardrobe malfunction for Jackson at the end of the song “Rock Your Body.” MTV and Justin Timberlake later apologized for the incident, which they both labeled as “unplanned and unintentional.” After these statements were released, Jackson then came out and revealed that a “costume reveal” was planned after the final rehearsals for the performance, which likely led to the malfunction.What was viewed as a humorous mistake on Timberlake’s part, which he said in interviews that night that he was “glad to give people something to talk about,” wound up having dire consequences.
In the near two decades following the infamous performance, fans of Jackson and Timberlake alike now recognize the difference in how both artists were treated in the media. The wardrobe malfunction had a largely negative effect on Janet Jackson’s career, while Timberlake has continued to produce successful albums, and was even invited back to perform at the Super Bowl years later in 2018.
Meanwhile, immediately following the 2004 Half Time performance, Jackson was allegedly barred from performing at that year’s Grammy awards. Incidents like this would continue for years to come. For Brady to bring up the incident 19 years later, and essentially say that it was positive for the NFL, is viewed as insensitive by fans of Jackson, and regular Super Bowl viewers alike.
“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. Is any publicity bad publicity?”
— Tom Brady on Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction at the 2004 Super Bowl pic.twitter.com/NcTEPTT3B9
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) February 15, 2023
Others cited the misogynoir that exists against Black women in the music industry, and felt that Timberlake did not defend Jackson enough. For another white man, and a retired professional athlete at that, to call “any publicity good publicity,” felt ignorant to some given the current political climate of the entertainment industry.
Janet Jackson faced public humiliation and outright misogynoir resulting in her getting blacklisted by the former CEO of CBS, but Tom Brady thinks all of that was ok because all publicity is good publicity. Sick. https://t.co/1kcerS34Wc
— 𝙱𝚎𝚌𝚌𝚊. (@MJFINESSELOVER) February 14, 2023
Even Jackson eventually spoke to Oprah Winfrey expressing regret over her apology, as the incident was not truly her responsibility to apologize for.
Some of Brady’s podcast listeners connected his comments to his recent divorce from his ex-wife, model and activist Gisele Bündchen.
Tom Brady’s comment on Janet Jackson’s mishap helping the NFL makes me understand why his wife really left his ass.
— Big Malcolm dont forget the X (@PlatonicDialog) February 15, 2023
Others pointed out that people should not be shocked by this behavior, given that the alleged reason for his recent divorce was his inability to prioritize his family over the NFL.
tom brady ain’t give a shit bout his wife and kids but you want him to be concerned with janet jackson?
— Dae (@Dae__b2) February 15, 2023
One Twitter user reposted a clip from a previous Justin Timberlake performance, in which Timberlake seemingly pokes fun at the 2004 incident.
Look how Justin Timberlake was capitalizing off of Janet Jackson's misfortune pic.twitter.com/S8zIJ7GdBe
— greg. (@mistergeezy) February 14, 2021
This is not the first time Tom Brady has sparked controversy. Many simply want to move on from it all. From Deflategate to his “fake” retirement and the rumors surrounding his divorce, onlookers feel like maybe Brady should put the mic down for now.
Here’s where we are in the post @TomBrady retirement saga, I’m REALLY trying to move on pic.twitter.com/5Fodypje1J
— Mellanie Brando (@ThatBrashBlonde) February 15, 2023
Brady is yet to address the controversy that came with his comments on Janet Jackson, and neither have his two podcast co-hosts.