What happens when a star football quarterback goes to court and the courtroom artist makes him look like a gaunt old man instead of the “chiseled” model player that he is? The Internet blows up.
This Wednesday, August 12, Tom Brady was in Manhattan federal court to defend himself against the NFL’s decision to suspend him for four games in reaction to the “Deflategate” scandal. Accused in January 2015 of tampering with the football and deflating it, thereby illegally making the ball easier to hold, Brady was suspended without pay and the New England Patriots team was fined one million dollars. The courtroom proceedings were sketched by veteran artist Jane Rosenberg, who has received plenty of flak about her renderings of the popular football player.
The outlandish artwork has received criticisms from fans all over social media and newspaper outlets have posted articles on a wide range of topics regarding the “scandal.” Here’s a quick recap of what’s being said on Twitter:
@OneRepublic: “Courtroom sketch artist apparently thinks Tom Brady is the skinny Hunchback of Notre Dame. Might need a new job”
@lilsarg: “Ban courtroom sketch artists. This is not Tom Brady.”
@Joshua_Newman: “Per this courtroom sketch, Tom Brady is really the crypt keeper”
@T_medeiros11: “how does a courtroom sketch artist take the sculpted Greek god that is known as Tom Brady.. and turn him into this”
When word first got out, Rosenberg spoke out, saying
“Tell Tom Brady I’m sorry. He’s a very good-looking man. I apologize. If I had more time, I would have made him more handsome.”
Rosenberg defended herself to the NY Daily News yesterday, stating ““I tried to draw it as I saw it. He was looking down. He didn’t look like he was winning the Super Bowl at that moment.” She noted that she’s keeping her head high despite all the naysayers: “People are seeking me out in private emails and saying really mean things. People who want to be art critics and mean-spirited, nasty. It just makes me wanna laugh. They’re sad losers.”
Some of the more creative social media users have created memes, using Brady’s sallow face in the sketch in place of figures like E.T., Michael Jackson dancing the Thriller, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Scream, and more.
The New York Post interviewed art experts to weigh in on the debate, the LA Times and Huffington Post both wrote about the nonstop Twitter feed on the topic, and even the Chicago Tribune took up the story, interviewing a courtroom sketch artist about her own daily life.
Rosenberg has sketched plenty of well-known political and entertainment figures in court, including Martha Stewart, Rosie O’Donnell, Woody Allen, Al Sharpton, and John Gotti. According to her website, where you can find sketches from both the courtroom and everyday life in New York City, Rosenberg has been an artist for many years, with a fine arts degree and professional training. The sketches she has created of previous figures are true-to-form. So was this particular sketch a picture of Brady as he actually was at that moment? It seems impossible, as many fans believe, but it’s up to you. Leave your opinions in the comment box below or tweet to @egyptologist to chime in!