Jane Rosenberg has been a sketch artist for 35 years. In all that time, she's never been treated like this.
Rosenberg received downright mockery after her courtroom sketch of Tom Brady hit the Internet on Wednesday. The Patriots' quarterback is challenging the NFL for his four-game suspension over the alleged deflation of game footballs during the AFC Championship Game. The focus yesterday was more about creating memes from the sketch than following the legal end of the story.
This is the artist depiction of Tom Brady during today's court hearing. (Credit: Jane Rosenberg) pic.twitter.com/0B5zVnacFW
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) August 12, 2015
On Thursday morning, Rosenberg appeared on the NFL Network, where she told her side of the tale.
"Apparently Tom Brady has a lot of people who love him and who are very disappointed that I did not depict him as handsome as he really is," she said.
Rosenberg does not call her drawing a masterpiece, but she thinks the criticism is unwarranted. She reminds the public she has covered numerous high profile cases in the past, and her presence in this case was not a coincidence. She tried to get the image fans wanted.
"I knew the story would be about Roger Goodell and Tom Brady, so I was thinking I have to try to have them included in the sketch," she said. "I waited until they sat in the courtroom and tried to compose a wide shot.
"It's very hard when I do a tiny little head to make it accurate with pastels. I did the best I could. I apologize to Tom Brady and his fans, who may not be happy with it."
Rosenberg acknowledges that if anyone can feel her pain, it is athletes. "I think athletes understand there are good days and bad days."
The last 24 hours have been a new experience for Rosenberg, who admits she is not active on social media and versed in the concept of "going viral." She was surprised to see her art spread around the globe, and the backlash has been unfortunate. The rabid world of NFL fans has given Rosenberg unwarranted treatment.
"I'm getting non-stop calls asking to get interviewed," she said. "I don't personally do Twitter, so I'm sure there's a lot on Twitter, but people are e-mailing me. They're finding my personal e-mail. They're sending me nasty things. Some people are sending me support, which is really lovely and I really thank all these people."
Rosenberg is scheduled to be back in the courtroom next week for more sketches, although she jokes she may not show up.
"Someone wrote in one of their nasty e-mails I really should call in sick next week. Maybe I should."
Rosenberg reiterated the prevalence of virtual attacks on The Dan Patrick Show, while doing limited media appearances:
Sketch artist Jane Rosenberg said she's getting tons of nasty emails from Patriots fans. "Hateful...cyber-bullying."
— Paul Pabst (@PaulPabst) August 13, 2015
It's disturbing to know individuals tracked down Rosenberg's contact information to ridicule her for her work. Deflategate has long gotten out of hand, but this takes things to a whole new level.