Hours after Tom Brady made his first appearance at Patriots minicamp Tuesday, a group of New York Mets fans gathered at a Manhattan restaurant to protest the quarterback’s recent attempt to appropriate the nickname of one of their team’s icons.
It was a uniquely New York affair.
“We’re very upset,” Sammy Musovic, the owner of Sojourn Restaurant, said in a makeshift press conference.
The latest — and perhaps least expected — front in the Boston-New York sports rivalry opened after news spread earlier this week that Brady’s company, TEB Capital Management, had filed two trademark applications for the exclusive rights to use the nickname “Tom Terrific” for a new line of commercial products, from posters to T-shirts. However, that nickname was first bestowed, if not legally, to former Mets pitcher and 1969 World Series champion Tom Seaver.
Given that Seaver’s family announced in March that the 74-year-old Hall of Famer was retiring from public life due to dementia, some New Yorkers said they found the timing of Brady’s trademark request particularly appalling. So, on Tuesday, a dozen or so “diehard” Mets fans assembled at Sojourn to pushback as best they could.
Wielding baked beans and meager chants of “Let’s go Mets,” the group — which included two former Mets players — desecrated Brady memorabilia and asserted that Seaver was the one true “Tom Terrific” — or “Tom the Terrific,” as Musovic said.
“It’s not right what he’s doing,” the restaurant owner said of Brady. “He’s famous. He’s a six-time Super Bowl champion. We know that. But he doesn’t need the name. The name doesn’t belong to him, and he’s not known for ‘Tom the Terrific.’ The original ‘Tom the Terrific’ is Tom Seaver.”
Tom Brady’s jersey is in the trash with beans on it.
The owner here says they used some black beans because Brady is a “black spot” on NYC. pic.twitter.com/XBLwRdcJaB
— Justin Toscano (@JustinCToscano) June 4, 2019
After putting one Brady jersey in a trash can and dumping beans — “Boston beans and black beans, because he’s a black spot on New York City right now” — from a pot on it, several members of the group flung handfuls of beans at a Brady poster and a second jersey they had put on display.
Eventually, the poster and second jersey went in the trash can, too — with more beans.
“He’s an egomaniac, I think,” Howard Shapiro, a 67-year-old Mets superfan wearing a blue-and-orange suit at the protest, told NorthJersey.com, referring to Brady.
“He wants as much notoriety as he can get,” Shapiro said. “They like to stir the pot, obviously, in Boston. I wouldn’t doubt if [Patriots owner Robert] Kraft is behind this. Maybe it’ll take some press off his other problem.”
Ed Kranepool and Art Shamsky, two former teammates of Seaver and members of the 1969 team, were on hand for the protest. And while they didn’t throw any food at Patriots paraphernalia, they made it clear they sided with Seaver. Kranepool even admitted to being a fan of Brady, but said the “Tom Terrific” nickname belongs to his old teammate.
“He’s the greatest quarterback that ever lived, and I supported him over the years,” Kranepool said during the press conference. “Anytime I’m rooting for football, I’m rooting for Tom Brady. But when you’re asking about ‘Tom Terrific’ — and you play behind a guy like Tom — there’s only one guy that can be ‘Tom Terrific.'”