Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that Tom Brady‘s four-game suspension has been upheld by the NFL. Love him or hate him, we’ll miss Brady when he’s not on the field. But let’s see this from Brady‘s point of view. Every September since he was a young boy, he has been living and breathing football. What is he going to do without an extremely deflated football in his hand and a game to win? How can he fill this emptiness in his heart? What can Tom Brady do while serving his suspension?
1. Be obscenely and arrogantly wealthy.This will be pretty easy for you to accomplish, Tom. Instead of buying a car, buy 15. Why just settle for a swimming pool that wraps around your house when you can also have one in your kitchen? Or two…
2. Sleep with your ridiculously good-looking model wife. You know you want to, Tom. Now’s your chance!
3. Run for public office. Do I see a Trump-Brady ticket in your future?
4. Get a makeover. A new hairstyle and a snazzy new wardrobe can add up to a WHOLE NEW Tom Brady.
5. Write the great American novel. I’m thinking Gronk fan fiction. Because EVERYONE loves Gronk fan fiction.
6. Take up another sport. You’re already the Michael Jordan of football. Now be the Michael Jordan of BASEBALL!
7. Start filming “Ted 3.” According to Ted the teddy bear, “Tom Brady is a f*cking wicked awesome actor.”
8. Start a feud with Drake and/or Nicki Minaj. You know you want to, Tom…
9. Write season 3 of “True Detective.” Because it can’t be any worse than season 2.
10. Learn how to stop cheating at football. I know it’s going to be tough, but you can do it. I think…
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If you are an avid sports fan or just a casual fan, by now you have surely heard of “Deflategate.” The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots are in the spotlight for (GASP!) cheating, once again.
While this is not earth-shattering news in and of itself, it may show a pattern of rule-bending. I’m not accusing the Patriots of anything, but the facts do speak for themselves. Let’s take a look at where this saga is headed.
Fool Me Once…
The 2007 New England Patriots videotaping controversy, widely dubbed “Spygate,” refers to an incident during the National Football League’s 2007 season in which the New England Patriots were disciplined by the league for videotaping the New York Jets’ defensive coaches’ signals during a September 9, 2007 game. The Patriots were videotaping the Jets’ coaches from their own sideline, which is not allowed.
Videotaping opposing coaches is not illegal in the NFL, but there are designated areas allowed by the league to do such taping. The act was deemed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to be in violation of league rules. After an investigation, the NFL fined Patriots head coach Bill Belichick $500,000 (the maximum allowed by the league, and the largest fine ever imposed on a coach in the league’s 80+year history) for his role in the incident, fined the Patriots $250,000, and docked the team their original first-round selection in the 2008 NFL Draft, which would have been the 31st pick. The fine garnered significant media attention for being the “maximum amount” an individual could be fined.
When it came time to penalize the Patriots for their latest transgression, the 2007 incident gave the League the precedent they needed to establish a pattern of calculated and deliberate attempts to avoid long-standing rules designed to encourage fair play and promote honest competition on the playing field.
Now we arrive at the current day. The New England Patriots were charged with deflating footballs used in a playoff game. “Deflategate” is a major controversy in the NFL, stemming from allegations that the New England Patriots used underinflated footballs in the AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts on January 18th, 2015.
Depending on who you believe, many claim that the Patriots have been cheating for years and are just now getting caught.
Before you get all hot and bothered, you might be surprised as to who ELSE has been rumored to have doctored footballs before and during games. In a report published by NESN, the Indianapolis Colts may have done the EXACT same thing. The report stated:
The NFL was alerted to the Deflategate situation by the Indianapolis Colts, who lost to the New England Patriots 45-7 in last season’s AFC Championship Game. Turns out the Colts might not be choirboys themselves.
In the Patriots’ Thursday rebuttal to the Wells Report, the team said it supplied evidence about the Colts’ potential wrongdoings. The first came from a Colts-Jaguars game that took place sometime before the 2014 season. “Evidence was also provided that Indianapolis ball boys, in a prior season, had been seen by Jacksonville personnel with ball needles hidden under their long sleeves,” the Patriots wrote in “The Wells Report in Context.” Separately, the Patriots pointed out the Colts took a PSI reading of a football during the AFC title game, which is an NFL rules violation. “Once the game starts, neither team is allowed to gauge the footballs, pump them, or the like. That is solely the province of the referee, who is to be the ‘sole judge’ of whether footballs comply,” the Patriots wrote. “The Colts, with advance concerns about PSI, did not take the issue to the referee. They took the matter into their own hands and had an intern gauge the football. (pg. 63) This conduct was in violation of Rule 2. Nowhere does the Report identify this conduct as a violation of the Rule.”
What are we in, third grade? I got caught cheating, so I’m going to turn you in? What do you think? Is this sour grapes, or do the Colts have some “’splainin” to do?
Brady’s Day in Court
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell decided this past Thursday that he’ll be the one to preside over the appeal filed by Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady.
The NFL said in a released statement, “Commissioner Goodell will hear the appeal of Tom Brady’s suspension in accordance with the process agreed upon with the NFL Players Association in the 2011 collective bargaining agreement.”
The NFLPA did NOT want any part of Goodell, and had specifically requested that a neutral third party hear Brady’s appeal. The Commish decided otherwise.
“Given the NFL’s history of inconsistency and arbitrary decisions in disciplinary matters, it is only fair that a neutral arbitrator hear this appeal,” the NFLPA said in a statement when Brady’s appeal was filed on Thursday. “If Ted Wells and the NFL believe, as their public comments stated, that the evidence in their report is ‘direct’ and ‘inculpatory,’ then they should be confident enough to present their case before someone who is truly independent.”
Under terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Goodell has the option of hearing Brady’s appeal himself, or designating an officer to hear the appeal. The NFL commissioner also could have sent the case to a neutral arbitrator. Obviously, Goodell went with option A.
With Goodell presiding over the appeal, it’s likely going be tough for Brady to get his four-game suspension reduced, mainly because Goodell himself signed off on the punishment.
This can only mean one thing. Lawsuit.
You can bet that once Goodell upholds the 4-game suspension, the NFLPA/Brady/New England Patriots will file suit in Federal Court. One has to wonder what Goodell is thinking. By taking over in hearing Brady’s appeal, Goodell has all but finalized the 4-game suspension, thus opening the door to a major lawsuit. One that he will have a hard time winning.
As numerous outlets have reported, there is no DIRECT EVIDENCE that Brady told anyone to deflate footballs. The Wells Report got as close as possible to pinning the rule-breaking on Brady.
“For the reasons described in this Report, and after a comprehensive investigation, we have concluded that, in connection with the AFC Championship Game, it is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules.”
Is that the smoking gun?
This will most certainly land in civil litigation, and the League is going to be hard-pressed to win this one. Perhaps Commissioner Goodell should have sat this one out; that’s the only way he can save face over what is quickly becoming his Waterloo.
Ronnie Garcia is the Voice of Reason at The Scoop. He is also an avid guitarist, educator, and all around smarmy guy. You can follow him on twitter @TheRonMann.
Here is a partial list of major allegations among the National Fel..err Football League:
Indianapolis Colts Josh McNary (rape), D’Qwell Jackson (assault) and Andrew Jackson (drunken driving)
Green BayPackers defensive tackleLetroy Guion (drugs)
New Orlean Saints pass rusherJunior Galette (assault)
New York Jets running back Chris Johnson (weapons)
Chicago Bears cornerbackTim Jennings (drunken driving)
All of these have happened since January 1st, 2015!
Then, you add the saga of Dallas Cowboys running back, Joseph Randle. No, I’m not talking about stealing cologne or underwear from the mall. I’m talking about police investigating a domestic abuse claim made by an ex-girlfriend a day after his arrest at a Kansas hotel on a drug charge that has since been dropped. The probe continues.
Adrian Peterson disciplining his child with a “switch” caused a suspension from the NFL beginning in November of last year. He has since been reinstated and still belongs to the Minnesota Vikings.
Then there are others, like Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon, who was suspended for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell received 15 months’ probation in a first-offender’s program following his August arrest on marijuana charges. Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, and was placed on probation in a case stemming from alleged assaults on his wife last year.
As you can see, Commissioner Goodell has been a busy guy.
I haven’t even touched on the Greg Hardy imbroglio. The NFL announced Wednesday that Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy has been suspended without pay for the team’s first 10 games of the 2015 regular season for conduct detrimental to the league.
Ray MacDonald is another name that comes up under the microscope. MacDonald was released by the San Francisco 49ers in December after law enforcement officials in San Jose, California, said he was under investigation on suspicion of sexual assault. McDonald hasn’t been charged in that case, which remains open.
All of these incidents are happening under the watch of Commissioner Roger Goodell. The staunch disciplinarian who decided to suspend Ray Rice for 2 games because of the incident in a hotel elevator, was stunned to see the video of said attack. After, and only AFTER, the video became public, did Goodell suspend Rice indefinitely.
That brings us back to Greg Hardy. Was Hardy wrong? Yes. Does he deserve to be punished? Most certainly. Is Goodell coming down hard on Hardy to make a point? You bet. While domestic violence is appalling, how this matter has been handled is just as bad.
If Ray Rice was only given 2 games for “punching” his girlfriend, how many would Hardy get? People guessed 4-6 games; no one saw 10 coming. He will surely appeal and will likely get that number reduced.
I heard someone grumbling about Ben Roethlisberger not being punished by the NFL after two women accused him of rape. Others were bemoaning how the New England Patriots escaped with nothing after it was determined they used deflated balls in a playoff game.
Inconsistency is the rule with the NFL. All I can say is this: If Goodell wants to improve the product on the field with ALL demographics, women included, he’d better get to work on his discipline issues.
In an article published by the Associated Press, Troy Vincent, NFL executive vice president for football operations, said: “Our young men are presented with the greatest platform in the world and how they carry that responsibility determines public perception. Our efforts are focused every day on raising the standard of excellence. We take the approach of shared responsibility and personal accountability in that we have resources and mentors in place to assist these young men where they are challenged. It is their responsibility to utilize them.”
As an educator, I have personally seen that even young children understand discipline. What they don’t understand is when a student gets punished for an action, and another student does the exact same thing and goes unpunished.
Discipline must be fair. It must be meted out, equally, to ALL parties, and it MUST be swift. Don’t take 3 months to punish. Do it immediately.
Goodell has literally dropped the ball. Either he works on handling things better, or maybe he’d better head for the door.
Ronnie Garcia is the Voice of Reason at The Scoop. He is also an avid guitarist, educator, and all around smarmy guy. You can follow him on twitter @TheRonMann