For Tom Brady, talk isn't cheap.
The Boston Globe reports that the two-time NFL MVP commanded $170,000 to speak last month at Salem State University. His talk, moderated by Jim Gray, amounted to the first and only time he has publicly discussed the accusation that the New England Patriots intentionally deflated footballs during their AFC championship game matchup with the Indianapolis Colts.
Brady's appearance came the day after Ted Wells' report concluded that it was "more probable than not" that the Patriots knew about the deflated footballs. Asked about the report by Gray, Brady didn't have much to divulge.
“I don’t really have any reaction [to the Wells Report]," Brady said to the enthusiastic, sold-out crowd. "It has only been 30 hours. I’ve not had much time to digest it. When I do, I will be sure to let you know how I feel about it. And everybody else.”
Brady was paid by the nonprofit Salem State University Foundation, which sponsors the school's annual speaker series. A University spokeswoman told the Boston Globe that no public money was used for the event, which raised $40,000 from ticket sales and sponsorships. The Foundation has raised $20 million over the last five years.
According to the Globe, the Salem State Foundation is also used to provide scholarships to students, enhance the student experience and recruit faculty from diverse backgrounds. The fact that it paid Brady $170,000 for an hourlong talk has some people upset:
Shameful: Tom Brady paid $170,000 for Salem State speech. Students could have rec'd scholarships instead. http://t.co/82b7bP7Z5t
— Marty Walz (@BackBayMarty) June 17, 2015
With so many kids struggling to go to college, it's obscene for Salem State to pay Tom Brady $170,000 to give speech. http://t.co/H24buD8Luy
— Donna Halper (@DevorahLeah) June 17, 2015
— Meghna Chakrabarti (@MeghnaWBUR) June 17, 2015
For reference, $170,000 is more than George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice or Al Gore normally earn for a speech. Peyton Manning, himself a Super Bowl champion, got $105,000 to speak at Oklahoma State in 2014.
Brady, who is estimated to be worth $120 million, is set to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on June 23 for a disciplinary hearing. The four-time Super Bowl champion is appealing the four-game suspension handed down to him by the NFL for his supposed role in deflating the footballs.