NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has thrown the proverbial book at Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. In the wake of the Wells Report, Goodell has suspended Brady for the first four games of the 2015 NFL season, fined the Patriots $1 million and indefinitely suspended two employees because its “more probable than not” that they deflated footballs or possessed knowledge of said deflation. As our own Daniel J. Flynn noted last week, “
It’s “more probable than not” that lawyers using the phrase “more probable than not” want to attaint with guilt without taking on the tough work of proving it.”
If Brady had seen fit to slug Gisele Bundchen in an elevator a year ago he would have received half the punishment. Although if Brady ever did such a foolish thing, methinks Gisele could more than hold her own
. Yes, Goodell would eventually increase Ray Rice’s suspension, but had to be shamed into doing so following a public backlash. But a judge would eventually grant Rice’s appeal and he is once again eligible to play.
Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier seldom delves into the sports world. But tonight, Baier led with Brady’s suspension stating this would be something “everybody would be talking about.” Baier spoke with Jim Gray of Fox Sports who interviewed Brady last week at Salem State College. Gray questioned the veracity of the Wells Report and said Brady would appeal immediately. He noted that both Rice and Minnesota Viking running back Adrian Peterson had won their appeals and could not see any reason why Brady’s appeal wouldn’t be successful. As such I believe this heavy-handed suspension will come back to haunt Goodell and could ultimately cost him his job.
I know football fans who hate the Patriots, especially those in Indianapolis, think Brady and the Pats should have been punished more harshly. But the Colts would have lost last year’s AFC Finals, deflated footballs or not. If deflated footballs offer such an advantage then why has no one thought to do this before now? Besides, the Pats did most of their scoring after the balls had been re-inflated. But if deflated footballs are such a threat to the integrity of the game then don’t let any team have access to game balls. Keep the game balls in the custody of the referees at all times. Otherwise, the NFL is trying to do the Patriots off the field what no team could do to the Pats on the field.