Tom Brady finally got the punishment he deserved

Chris Chase
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Tennessee Titans first-round pick Marcus Mariota stands with executive vice president and general manager Ruston Webster (left) and head coach Ken Whisenhunt (right) during the press conference in Nashville, Tenn.

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Good for you Roger Goodell. In spite of all logic, good sense and threats of protracted legal battles, the NFL commissioner held firm in upholding the legitimate four-game suspension of Tom Brady for his assumed role in Deflategate. While the popular sentiment had been that Goodell would reduce the suspension to one or two games, he flexed his muscles once again in keeping Brady off the field for the first month. The commissioner who seemed to have all the authority of a mall cop this spring is suddenly the Draconian overseer once more.

It seems that Brady’s phone was at the center of the decision to uphold the suspension, as the NFL claimed Brady instructed an assistant to destroy it before the Super Bowl-winning quarterback spoke with Ted Wells. That was apparently all Goodell needed. Brady didn’t deserve any leeway from the NFL in the first place. The phone evidently cinched it.

Overturning the Golden Boy’s four-game suspension would have been a move designed to get in the good graces of the American public and football media, neither of whose opinion means anything to him or his job security. Perhaps it would have meant Goodell was wary of the NFLPA’s (likely) bluff to take this to court if Brady was suspended for a considerable length of time. (They still might, I suppose, but taking this suspension would be far better for Brady’s image and the many sponsors who pay him money because of it. It’s in Brady’s best interests to take his medicine and let this go away rather than be the guy who sued the NFL.)

Had he reduced Brady’s suspension, Goodell would have sent his dysfunctional NFL front office into even more chaos. He would have undercut his own employee tasked with determining the suspension in NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent. He would have ignored Ted Wells, a man to whom he reportedly paid millions to come up with an impartial report and did just that, despite the prejudiced insistence of Brady sympathizers who said Wells was biased toward the NFL because of how much he was paid. (As if the highly respected Wells wasn’t getting paid if he sided with Brady — come on. (And you better believes that all these Ted Wells haters would consider him Solomon reborn if that report had come back pro-Brady.)

The Wells Report was based on facts and it used simple logic to deduce Brady’s role in a cheating scandal. Wells didn’t have to prove Brady’s involvement beyond a reasonable doubt. This isn’t a court of law. Circumstantial evidence was what Wells had and it was what he needed. Anyone who read it could have connected the dots.

Brady’s lawyers, the Patriots and disgruntled fans have screamed about the report, discussing the flawed science of the measurement of the Patriots balls and the different protocol of measuring the PSI of the balls used by the Colts. They talked about cold weather’s effect on deflation and pinpointed meaningless fallacies in the Wells Report. Brady’s lawyer claimed there was a sting operation and complained that Brady’s testimony wasn’t included in the final report. But of all that was a classic magician’s tactic: misdirection. Look over here and don’t be distracted by the convincing evidence they have over there.

Here was Don Yee, Brady’s lawyer, spitting fire after the release of the report:

“The Wells report, with all due respect, is a significant and terrible disappointment. It’s omission of key facts and lines of inquiry suggest the investigators reached a conclusion first, and then determined so-called facts later.

“One fact alone taints this entire report. What does it say about the league office’s protocols and ethics when it allows one team to tip it off to an issue prior to a championship game, and no league officials or game officials notified the Patriots of the same issue prior to the game? This suggests it may be more probable than not that the league cooperated with the Colts in perpetrating a sting operation. The Wells report buries this issue in a footnote on page 46 without any further elaboration.”

The Patriots also released a crazed 20,000 word response — the Wells retort, if you will — and began it with the following sentence: “The conclusions of the Wells Report are, at best, incomplete, incorrect and lack context.”

You know what it doesn’t say? You know what Yee hasn’t said through all the complaints, rebuttals, affronts, outrage and legal ramblings? “Tom Brady is innocent of all charges.”

Their complaint isn’t the Brady didn’t do it, it’s that Wells didn’t prove it. Again, this isn’t a court of law. Brady wouldn’t have been found guilty by a jury of his peers tasked with determining his guilt or innocence using the yardstick of “beyond a reasonable doubt,” but that doesn’t matter. Anyone who read the 243-page Wells Report can come to the fairly easy conclusions that Brady had a role in the deflating of footballs. How much does it matter? Why did the NFL only start caring about this now? Who knows? Who cares? Brady broke the rules. Four games was too kind.

That’s why Troy Vincent handed down that four-game suspension that Goodell just upheld, boldly, I might add.

Goodell did this in spite of Greg Hardy’s four-game suspension for domestic violence. It was assumed the NFL couldn’t afford the public perception that it believes deflating footballs is on par with domestic violence, so Brady would get off easier. But no right-minded person believes Roger Goodell or the NFL thinks that way. Let’s say, for instance, that Brady was instead caught betting on football. That would likely earn him a ban for life, which no one would complain about. But would that mean Goodell thought gambling was worse than domestic violence? Of course not. Some things just aren’t comparable.

Hardy sat out 15 games last season and though he was paid for them, he was still (correctly) restricted from exercising whatever right he has to play in the NFL, despite the fact that his original 60-day jail sentence was eventually overturned and thrown out of court. The courts never punished Hardy. The NFL did. That’s the NFL’s right.

Then, Hardy was suspended for 10 games. That was reduced upon appeal by an independent arbiter. So, if you actually want to compare the two, the NFL wanted to sit Hardy two-and-a-half times longer than Brady. At no point was the suspension for Hardy and Brady ever the same, at least in the NFL’s eyes. (Also, no one complained about the impartiality of Hardy’s independent arbiter.)

The easiest move was for Goodell to cut Brady’s suspension in order to avoid the obvious, but flawed, comparisons to Hardy. Instead, he took a stand and reasserted himself as the all-powerful leader of the NFL. He’ll get criticized, he’ll get lambasted, but he made the right decision.

Tom Brady, by all accounts, cheated. It’s a relatively minor offense, especially when compared with what some players do off the field,, but it’s one that he, based on evidence, intentionally sought out to commit. An argument that the evidence is flawed is not the same thing as saying the ultimate conclusion was wrong.

It’s been a blessed football life for Tom Brady. He went to the New England Patriots just as Bill Belichick was beginning his run as the greatest coach in the game. He fumbled in a key moment of a playoff game but an inane rule gave him the ball back to win. His field-goal kicker helped him to countless playoff wins. And, a few months ago, he earned a Super Bowl ring thanks to one of the worst play calls in the history of the sport. But on Tuesday, the clouds finally rolled in.

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22 Responses to “Tom Brady finally got the punishment he deserved”

  1. David Oliver says:

    It really begs the question – why it assumed that this was a one – time
    cheating attempt – even though he and is team of deflators, have supposedly been “together” for years…

    This Lie can be covering many years of these type of shenanigans…

    http://nypost.com/2015/05/13/brady-used-deflated-footballs-back-in-2004-opposing-qb/

    • ck says:

      David O.: Would question credibility at this point and seems to be history repeating itself…hmmmmmmm! Thanks for providing link and the comments were enlightening on the subject too! Liars & cheats (Bellicheat)!

      • David Oliver says:

        ck..

        My memory is not real great – but I did see a presentation of
        a real “Coincidental” POSITIVE Historical change in Brady’s/Patriots
        QB statistics and success once this (ball inflation and QB’s wanting
        to control this as much as possible) became an issue and his
        Significant role in even the Genesis of this debate. Once he put
        his “deflation team” with him for YEARS on staff – the sky was being
        presented as the limit for their future and NOW “HISTORICAL” success.
        Maybe someone else has seen this specific historical presentation
        of the time line and Brady’s and Patriots association with this.
        Who knows of and can share the link?

        Also – I just do not get the “down playing” of this – “messing with
        the ball issue” WHICH can: cause incompletions, Interceptions,
        dropped balls (“guised” as a Political and MORAL issue) resulting in
        potential significant different RESULTS IN SCORE &

        Come on.. Thus CANNOT this “Ball Tampering ALSO have a HUGH affect,
        on the results of NFL ball games and who wins the close games and
        thus – the NFL league standings??

  2. DeLVen says:

    I guess I am one of those people who don’t understand why this is a big deal. Am I right in believing that each quarterback gets to select the ball he uses within certain parameters? A “softer” ball makes it easier to grip and catch. Good for offensive receivers and defensive backs. The “harder” ball is faster and more difficult to catch for receivers and defensive backs. Since each quarterback selects his own ball for his offense what is the problem?

    If this was a serious problem in the league why not send a directive to owners, managers, coaches, and quarterbacks telling them to stop or the would be fined the designated amount of $25,000 for the first offense. Additional penalties could be added for future offenses and the rule could be changed to place the game balls under the authority of the referee’s which would select a ball which both quarterbacks would play with.

    It seems to me this was a gotcha violation. The type violation where someone wanted to penalize a player or team or both. I find it ironic that the NFL places more emphasis on destroyed cell phone messages than the federal government in their political corruption cases where the evidence is stronger and they penalize no one.

    This should have been handled within one week of the incident with the maximum penalty of $25.000 end of story. This appears to be handled by a bunch of grade school kids, and I may have insulted the grade schoolers.

    I am not a Patriot fan or Brady fan but the big deal they have made of this is ridiculous. Every adult in the NFL should be embarassed by the way this was handled. To penalize someone based on “it more than likely happened this way” would not cut it in most labor disputes.

  3. GoGata says:

    Much ado about nothing. NFL should be embarrassed they don’t have a better protocol for the footballs. After all, they were the ones who wanted more offense and gave the QB’s leeway with the footballs some years back. Besides, the Patriots intercepted Seattle’s football in the superbowl and absolutely destroyed the Colts. This opinion coming from a dolphins fan btw. Maybe there was a slight advantage which can be seen in the fumble statistics, but maybe that also has to do with their emphasis on not fumbling, rb’s are an expendable asset in New England so they have to hold onto the ball to remain employed. Remember TIki Barber was a fumbling machine, then changed his technique and rarely fumbled? So maybe a slight advantage, but also great coaching, and one of the best teams. Anyone who thinks this was a big scandal is soft and just wants to whine about something.

    • Sage says:

      Belichick is smart enough to see and exploit the advantage of a pound or two of air pressure in the team’s footballs. The advantage is not necessarily for Brady in throwing, but for all the ball handlers who are at risk of fumbling.

      Oh, he emphasizes hanging onto the football? All teams emphasize hanging onto the ball. And Foxborough is a cold, snowy place, where fumbles should tend to be higher, not lower. The Patriots’ fumble statistics are extraordinary, and they changed overnight, like someone threw a switch, precisely after Manning and Brady won the right to select their own footballs.

      True, there is no reliable proof that the Patriots deflated balls for the last several years. So, one can say, “No proof.”

      But I reject the contention that it’s much ado about nothing. Calculated rules violations over a number of years would be a big deal. An advantage in holding onto the football would be an extremely big deal.

      No proof, but there is likewise no disproof. In the court of Internet opinion, it’s perfectly appropriate to speculate.

  4. tawk2 says:

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  5. tawk2 says:

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  6. andrea says:

    Brady got the punishment he deserved. Destroying a cell phone requested by the NFL – Brady and Hillary Clinton must be good buddies.
    I agree with Sage – the real advantage is the amount of fumbles the Patriots have versus the other teams in the NFL.

  7. brandi says:

    Robert Kraft went off on the NFL today. He’s right that he never should have trusted the NFL. This is something nobody should understand better than Tim Tebow Fans.

    From Goodell to various Owners, many scattered throughout NFL Hdqtrs and Team Organizations there’s an arrogance and pettiness that sometimes seems to know no bounds. Again, NOBODY should understand this better than Tim’ Fans the lengths the NFL will go to shun, smear and never admit there’s even a chance they could be wrong.

    Maybe Brady did something. Maybe he didn’t. I couldn’t care less. Because NONE of this has ever been anything about what he may or may not have done. Some is pettiness and a long, seething feeling of wanting to “get” the Patriots…period. Some is a long-standing feud between the NFL and NFLPA over how much power the Commissioner should have.

    A mistake Fans, perhaps especially Tim Fans, should beware is letting a desire to stick it to the Patriots cloud sound judgment and recognition of what’s really at stake. NFL Owners & the Commish think it’s who runs the league.

    Fans should be concerned that based on how this all plays out the NFL might feel vindicated in the way it treats and looks down on everyone. Including the Fans.

    Don’t lose vision in the headlines.

    • JP says:

      One other note… they lack of tact and the stupidity of the panel is striking

    • brandi says:

      He focuses a bit too much on the process for my taste an ignores NFL has bigger problems than process problems. But he’s right NFL has circumvented and basically sneered at its own processes including those signed into the CBA.

      IMO, this all stems from NFL & NFLPA refusing to talk during last CBA negotiations, rumors running supposedly leaked from media discussions with people inside the NFL that agreements with Networks provided for the Owners to get paid whether the Games were played or not so they weren’t in any hurry to reach an agreement with the Players that wasn’t everything they wanted. Then after a few weeks of those rumors filling the airwaves Networks got ticked, NFL rushed back to the table and a hurried agreement was signed that did nothing but split the money. And everyone was back to work with a really bad CBA that Owners and NFLPA have been fighting over ever since.

      I don’t know if the Owners actually were ready to screw everyone especially the Networks. But everything else has played out exactly that way. And we’re watching the problems that stem from it in bad headline after bad headline.

  8. TheMascotArmy says:

    It’s likely Brady did it, but I cant believe that anybody thought that that violation was a four game suspension type of violation. I’ve heard 25k fine or something. I doubt the seriousness was made clear to anybody, and I doubt they even considered it as serious until the media ran away with it so hysterically.

    I also think Brady might not have wanted to hand over his phone for other reasons besides deflategate, like a mistress or such. He supposedly gave copies of all relevant text messages. If I had something embarrassing in my texts, I sure as hell wouldnt count on confidentiality from the NFL investigators.

  9. JP says:

    WOW… ADD ESPN TO THE NFL FRAUD…. THIS COULD BLOW THE SEASON
    APART… HOW DO ZEORS LIKE MORTESEN AND SMITH GET TO THE TOP?

    http://media.weei.com/a/107870962/chris-mortensen-ducked-d-c-7-31-15.htm

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