Reimer: When fawning over Tom Brady, journalists gloss over Alex Guerrero’s slimy past

No story about Tom Brady would be complete without explaining the unique training regimen that he credits for his incredible longevity. Brady is playing the best football of his career as he approaches his 40th birthday, leading the Patriots to a historic Super Bowl comeback last season. He talks about suiting up until he’s 45 years old, or maybe even 50. 

The central figure to Brady’s approach is Alex Guerrero, who co-owns the TB12 Sports Therapy center with the Patriots quarterback. There, in spaces with cheesy titles like the “Grit Room,” clients train under the TB12 program –– which preaches the importance of pliability workouts and staying away from pro-inflammatory nightmares like strawberries and bell peppers. 

Guerrero first jumped into the national spotlight in January 2015, when Brady was profiled in New York Times Magazine. Writer Mark Leibovich portrays Guerrero as Brady’s “ever-present guru,” mapping out every facet of the quarterback’s life with a fanatical attention to detail.  

“Guerrero is (Brady’s) spiritual guide, counselor, pal, nutrition adviser, trainer, massage therapist and family member,” Leibovich writes. “He works with Brady’s personal chef to put together optimally healthful menus; he plans Brady’s training schedule months in advance. Above all, during the football season he works on Brady seven days a week, usually twice a day.”

Leibovich doesn’t delve much into Guerrero’s background, only mentioning that he holds a master’s degree in Chinese medicine from a “college in Los Angeles.” That unnamed college, the Samra University of Oriental Medicine, is now closed. 

Nine months later, Boston Magazine’s Chris Sweeney published a bombshell expose about Guerrero’s despicable past. Instead of being painted as a maestro, Guerrero is exposed as a snake-oil salesman. He was sued by the Federal Trade Commission in 2004 for his role as the pitchman for a phony cancer cure, Supreme Greens. Eight years later, the FTC instructed Guerrero to shut down the production of NeuroSafe, a fake concussion-prevention drink. Brady endorsed the product. 

These contemptible revelations don’t discredit Brady’s program with Guerrero. But it adds greater context to the man who appears to serve as the guidance force behind the greatest quarterback in NFL history. 

In a recent Sports Illustrated feature story about Brady, however, Guerrero’s history of unctuous behavior is whitewashed. Author Greg Bishop says the FTC punished Guerrero for “marketing a beverage he claimed cured cancer,” before writing that Brady has “consistently backed Guerrero and his methodology.” Then he moves on. 

The follow up story is even egregious. It reads like an endorsement for the so-called “TB12 Method,” with Bishop chronicling how Guerrero’s insistence on drinking lots of water and eating healthy helped him recover from a toe injury. Oh, and Biship also wore a compression sleeve, which supposedly contains far infrared energy that reflects back into the body –– or something. 

There isn’t a single mention of Guerrero’s dealings with the FTC, even though Bishop describes participating in “cognitive training” activities that are proven quackery. As Deadspin points out, a company called Lumosity was forced to pay the FTC $2 million in fines for advertising a similar “brain training program.”

Bishop isn’t the only national writer who’s recently omitted the unflattering portions of Guerrero’s biography. A Men’s Journal article about the TB12 Sports Therapy Center in Patriots Place only says that Guerrero has been “dogged by accusations of endorsing shady supplements and palming himself off as a doctor.” 

The writer, Mike Chambers, then proceeds to fawningly recount how Guerrero helped him recover from a foot injury. 

Given that Brady appears obsessed with hawking his TB12 lifestyle brand –– the self-help book will be released in September! –– expect Guerrero’s national profile to only grow. In the meantime, it would be nice if some journalists decided to tell his real story. 

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