The Donald Trump of sports controversies continues to bang the drums of insanity. And with the start of the NFL season about a month away, it’s looking as if the nonsensical Tom Brady-Deflate Gate saga is not going to just disappear. At least not until Brady’s done doing to Roger Goodell what he’s done many, many times to the Texans defense.
There are many people who think Brady deserves his suspension. Most of those people are paid shills for the NFL, or else work for an organization so in cahoots with the league that any report coming from it needs to be questioned. But the basic fact is this: It has yet to be proven that Tom Brady did anything wrong. Hell, it’s yet to be proven that the balls were actually improperly deflated.
Now why should anyone who is not a Patriots fan really care about this? Simple: If Tom Brady can be destroyed by the league this easily, so can any player. Like J.J. Watt, for instance. Think about it: The league’s story changes monthly; it can’t prove that Brady ordered anything done to the balls; it can’t even prove that anything was done to the footballs. Brady is being punished for harming the so-called integrity of the game, but it seems that the integrity is more harmed when fans, players and owners can’t trust the process by which the league investigates alleged infractions.
So clear your head of what you think you know about this mess. That bit about 11 of the 12 Patriots balls used in the first half against the Colts being severely deflated? That’s a lie. Even the NFL acknowledges that, kind of. That bit about all of the Colts balls being measured and being within the proper limits? That’s also a lie. The bit about the Ted Wells investigation being independent from the league? Well, the league signed off on the Wells report before it was issued. Tom Brady turned over records of his calls and texts to Wells, and he also supplied Wells with his emails.
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And if tampering with the football is such a blow to the league’s integrity, then why does the league rulebook state that such an offense warrants merely a fine? Why was the Jets kicker not investigated for being “generally aware” of tampering with the football when the NFL found a Jets kicking ball had been tampered with? And why were the Chargers only fined when it was discovered they were using an adhesive substance on the football?
(Deadspin and Stephanie Stradley have done yeoman’s work in breaking down the idiocy, so go read them for the really in-depth breakdowns.)
Roger Goodell has lost a lot of battles lately. His Bounty Gate player punishments were mostly tossed out. The courts knocked him down a few pegs for his punishment rulings over Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson. So going after Tom Brady is an attempt to show that he treats every player equally by demonstrating for one and all that he treats every player like crap.
One would think that the NFL would have learned some lessons from Major League Baseball, a sport whose previous commissioner was such an incompetent boob that a World Series was cancelled by a work stoppage, an All-Star game ended in a tie, resulting in MLB making home field advantage in the World Series dependent on which league wins the All-Star game. And then there’s the whole PED witch hunt witch tarnished the game and ruined the reputation of many of the game’s biggest stars for no reason whatsoever other than some meaningless PR. So one would think that the NFL would see it does more harm than good to be going after one of the game’s greats and attempting to tarnish everything he’s done because of something stupid like an under-inflated football.
So, much like Donald Trump blows off a lot of hot air that means absolutely nothing and that actually does damage to things about which he claims to care, the NFL and Roger Goodell can’t stop sticking their feet in their mouths time and time again over a nonsensical issue dealing with the weight of a football. And if the NFL should end up victorious against Tom Brady, then there’s absolutely nothing to stop it from going after the likes of J.J. Watt or your team’s favorite player just because it wants to.