But Mr Brady – possibly at the suggestion of his wife, Gisele Bündchen, who said she and her husband did not vote for Mr Trump in 2016 – then kept his distance. When the Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2017, Mr. Brady did not attend the ensuing reception at the White House.
Mr. Brady and Ms. Bündchen are said to have hired divorce lawyers in recent weeks.
Then there’s the idea that Mr. DeSantis, a former Harvard and Yale-educated college athlete who privately teased a 2024 presidential race, needed help spelling the name of the city’s most famous stadium. National Football League – and a sacred place for many voters in a critical presidential battleground state. At least Mr. DeSantis didn’t need help pronouncing Lambeau, a name that has tripped up former presidential candidates.
For Mr. Michels, whose campaign has also not responded to inquiries about his remarks, it is good policy but perhaps risky to seek friendship with Mr. Rodgers, himself a quarterback Super Bowl winner (albeit only once, to the dismay of many in Wisconsin) who is unarguably the most popular figure in the state.
Mr. Rodgers, like Mr. Brady, dabbled in politics with some complications. In 2011, he supported unionized public school teachers in their fight with Governor Scott Walker. He later said quarterback Colin Kaepernick belonged in the NFL after Mr Trump called for his banishment for kneeling during the national anthem pre-game to protest police violence against black people.
But last year Mr Rodgers, who refused to take a Covid shot, became a source of misinformation about vaccines. It made him a hero to fellow Wisconsin vaccine skeptics, especially Senator Johnson, who thanked him “for her courage in defending personal freedom and health autonomy.”
This month, Mr Johnson campaigned with Packers fans while wearing Mr. Rodgers jersey.
Mr. Michels, who is locked in a close battle with Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, was with Mr. Johnson outside Lambeau Field, despite being conspicuous for his lack of Packers gear. A local Democrat pointed out that Mr. Michels, a Wisconsin native who spent more than a decade living in Connecticut and Manhattan before returning home to run for governor, wore a green vest that was the shadow cast by the visiting Jetsnot the hometown Packers.
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