On Tuesday, June 23rd, at 9:30AM, and if necessary, continuing on Thursday, June 25th, New England Patriots 4 time winning Super Bowl Champion QB Tom Brady meets with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for an appeal hearing of Brady 4 game suspension for his alleged involvement in the scandal known as “Deflategate.” Tom Brady will be represented by his agent, Don Yee. NFLPA President DeMaurice Smith will be aiding Brady, as will attorney Jeffrey Kessler. Hearing the appeal will be Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has refused the Player’s Union’s request to step aside from hearing the case. Goodell will be joined by Troy Vincent, Executive VP of Football Operations, and other NFL officials. The appeal will be heard at the Park Avenue office in New York City.
As many of you already know, the polarizing and emotionally charged scandal called “Deflategate” happened when prior to the January, 2015 AFC Championship Game between the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots, the Colts complained to the league that the Patriots were allegedly using under inflated footballs. An intercepted football by one of the Colts players set this whole thing in motion, even though Colts GM Ryan was complaining before, during, and after the game. The Colts were checking the intercepted ball on the sidelines, which is against the rules, and all heck broke loose. The scandal hit the morning papers and the Internet, and everyone knows the rest of story.
According to the controversial Wells report, named for Ted Wells, who was hired by the NFL to investigate “Deflategate,” Patriots employees were found to be responsible for purposely tampering with the footballs. The Wells Report said that Jim McNally and John Jamstremski purposely under inflated footballs below the allowable minimal limit of 12.5 psi ( pounds per square inch.) . The Wells report also claimed that Patriots QB Tom Brady was “generally aware,” of the two men’s activities, and it was “more likely than not” that the footballs were tampered with, and Brady was in on it. The Wells Report exonerated the Patriots Organization and Coach Bill Belichick.
The punishments were the following : the Patriots were fined $1,000,000, and lost a 2016 1st round pick and a 2017 4th round pick. Jim McNally and John Jamstremski were suspended indefinitely, per League orders. QB Tom Brady was suspended for 4 games for his alleged involvement, and for allegedly not “cooperating.” To put these harsh punishments in perspective, in 2012, the San Diego Chargers were penalized $25,000 for wiping their footballs with a sticky substance on the towels. The fine was rescinded. No suspension for Chargers QB Philip Rivers.
In 2014, Minnesota Vikings and Carolina Panthers got warnings from the NFL for warming up the balls on the sidelines. Neither QB was suspended either. Why the NFL didn’t just fine the Patriots the minimum fine for “football tampering,” which is $25,000, and announce that football handling procedures will be improved, I don’t know. This was a simple equipment violation. It wasn’t made into a big deal for the other teams mentioned. The Patriots were targeted because the NFL wanted to reassert their authorized after the Ray Rice, and the Bountygate debacles.
Tom Brady is obviously appealing his suspension. In his appeal letter, in part, he said that he wants to be exonerated, and the suspension should be wiped out. I agree with him. Tom Brady got railroaded. In this blog, I will be making my case for Tom Brady’s exoneration. I will be analyzing the arguments that I have heard in support of his suspension, and give my counter-argument.
Pro Suspension Argument #1:
Brady should take the suspension like the Patriots did, and no one is above the rules.
Counter-argument: According to the NFL Owners By-Laws, no NFL Owner is allowed to sue the NFL. Patriots Owner Robert Kraft would have been blackballed, if he tried to pull off a lawsuit. Fans also have to realize that business is business. As for why Brady doesn’t take his punishment, he is in a UNION, and Mr. Kraft is not. Player Union members are allowed to appeal their cases, and there are no unions for Owners or head coaches. As a union member, Tom Brady has a right to appeal a suspension. There’s a perception from the Tom Brady haters that Brady has no rights. Former Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice (Domestic Violence) , Adrian Peterson ( Child Abuse ) , and Greg Hardy (Domestic Violence )had rights to appeal their suspensions.
No one said that Brady or any player is above the rules. I think that all players, from the undrafted free agents to the elite players, should be punished if they are in violation of the rules. I just don’t see where the NFL proved that Tom Brady violated the rules. The Wells report claimed that the texts and emails received from Jamstremski and McNally are proof. McNally’s calling himself “the deflater,” and Tom Brady signing stuff for them. From looking at the texts and emails in the Wells report, they sounded like a lot of joking and sarcasm. Brady, like many other QBs, has signed stuff for employees and others, in the past. There’s nothing sinister going on here.
Pro Suspension Argument #2:
Brady won’t give up his phone.
Counter-argument: This argument is one of the main sticking points for those who support the suspension. In a rather vigorous defense of his report, Ted Wells said that he and his investigators didn’t want Brady’s entire phone, just the pertinent information concerning the alleged tampering. The Brady camp, led by Agent Don Yee said that Wells and company wanted the entire phone. I’m more inclined to believe that Wells wanted the entire phone.
It goes back to those emails, which those who support the suspension also say are “damning.” Are they? It depends on how you take them. I would have taken them as a bunch of people who were joking around. The thing is that Ted Wells is the type of investigator that once he has his mind made up, he is going to keep digging until he gets what he wants, no matter if the evidence says otherwise. No wonder he wanted to interview McNally a fifth time. Perhaps Wells wanted to interview him a sixth, seventh. I just don’t think Wells was all about the truth here.
Back to the issue with Brady’s phone. Who’s to say that Wells would have wanted to see more than what he claimed , even if Don Yee was supervising? How will Wells guarantee that no leaks will happen? After all, the NFL itself leaked the false story to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen that 11 of the 12 Patriots footballs were 2 pounds under the legal limit. Why would Brady and his team expect Wells to keep things under wraps? Besides, we are talking about a PERSONAL phone. We are not talking about a COMPANY phone.
What is disturbing is that in the Brett Farve case, where Farve would not hand over his phone, all he got was a $50,000. I know this is a different case, but the concept is similar. Besides, according to the CBA , the rules say that the play must cooperate “reasonably” with the investigation. On March 5, 2015, Tom Brady sat down with Ted Wells and his investigation team, and answered questions all day. Brady cooperated plenty, in my view.
Pro Suspension Argument #3:
The integrity of the game must be protected from cheaters like Tom Brady.
Counter-argument: One of my favorite Bible verses is “He who has no sin, cast the first stone.” The other is “Do not judge lest ye be judged.” The one thing that drives me crazy is trying to add morality into sports, and the hypocrisy of the entire thing. Is integrity of the game important? I absolutely think so. I feel that there should be a level playing field. People who cheat SHOULD be punished . That is, if there is proof of cheating.
As my readers have heard, the NFL football has to be between 12.5 and 13.5 PSI. Every QB likes a football a certain way. There are some like Tom Brady, who like the footballs at the lower range, and there are some like Packers QB Aaron Rodgers who like it at the higher end of the range. I want to emphasize that it IS legal to have a football at the lower end of the allowable range, and even at 12.5. Tom Brady likes the football at 12.5, which, despite popular opinion, is legal. Again, the minimum PSI is 12.5.
We have to go to the science behind all this. The Wells Team tested eleven Patriots balls at half time, and only four Colts footballs because of time running out. After all, the same footballs were needed for the game. Something struck me weird about this. It doesn’t sound like a fair sample size comparison. How can anyone make a fair conclusion comparing eleven footballs to four?
Another thing that bothered me was that Referee Walt Anderson’s faulty memory of which guage was used to measure the footballs was praised so heavily by Ted Wells. The referee and his crew were so incompetent to let the bag of footballs disappear (also against NFL rules) , and couldn’t remember what guage he used in such an important investigation, that Ted Wells relies on him to try to prove that Tom Brady is the mastermind of this conspiracy to destroy the “integrity of the game,” by deflating footballs. If this were so important, why didn’t the referees write down the PSI of the balls, and allow them into the game, after the balls were missing for all that time?
Besides, once those balls were rubbed up, and set up the way the QB likes them, they’re not supposed to leave the referees’ sight. How was McNally able to take the bags of balls from that room. Those referees should have been punished for allowing that to happen. I find this interesting that no punishment was handed down to the referees.
Many point to the science part in the Wella Report where the Patriots balls lose more air than the Colts balls, thus the Patriots were cheating and Brady was in on it. Well, not so fast. Just recently, the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, released an independent scientific study that sharply criticizes the Wells Report and the science behind it. The A.E.I Report argues that the Patriots balls may not have declined as much as Ted Wells said they did. The AEI also said that Ted Wells totally ignored the Ideal Gas Law. The A.E.I. said that when the footballs were taken from the cold weather and place in the warm room, the Patriots footballs deflated to an expected amount, whereas the Colts footballs deflated too little.
The reason, which Ted Wells ignored, is because the Patriots balls were tested first, and that gave time for the Colts balls to warm up and expand. Therefore, that’s one of the main reasons why the American Enterprise Institute is of the opinion that the Wells Report is unreliable, and Commissioner Roger Goodell should take it under advisement when he hears Tom Brady’s appeal. (On the Wells report – AEI http://www.aei.org/publication/on-wells-report/ )
I am also of the opinion that Tom Brady is not a cheater. I don’t think, despite the NFL’s threshold of “more probable than not,” that the NFL has proven their case. I also don’t feel that his wanting the ball at 12.5 is cheating, especially since that is the lowest that the football is allowed to be. I don’t think he had any kind of advantage. His stats improved in the second half of that AFC Championship game, and everyone saw what he did against the vaunted “Legion of Boom” in Super Bowl 49 with a properly inflated football.
As for why I believe that Brady got such a harsh punishment , and the Patriots for that matter, I believe the answer is very simple. In the grand scheme of things, a deflated football is not the biggest thing in the world. This is not something to get all bent out of shape over. However, since the story broke in January, I have been seeing the general public getting all up in arms over, in essence, an equipment violation. People have been overreacting because this case, that the NFL itself turned into a big deal, involves not only the greatest QB ever in Tom Brady, but a QB who’s married to super model, Gisele Bundchen.
The general public, who already has this wrong perception that everything was handed to Brady, were just ready to tear him apart with their jealousy fueled lies and media driven hysteria. I mean, so-called “journalists” like Mike Wilbon and Stephen A . Smith were calling for the Colts to be inserted into the Super Bowl if the Deflategate allegations were true. Anything that ESPN said about Brady, people took as the Gospel. Anyone who defended Brady was insulted, and was treated as if they were defending a murderer. I have been told that I was a “cheater,” “Immoral,” and was told that I “should be ashamed.” I mean people were, and still are SO angry about this issue.
The weird thing is that some of these SAME people will compromise their so-called personal integrity and cheer for athletes on their teams who are not so perfect either. Some of these same people give passes to some of the folks who I mentioned earlier, Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, and Adrian Peterson. Even dog butcher, Michael Vick has his supporters, but I should be “ashamed” to defend Tom Brady? Anyway, what I am getting at is that it is hard to deal with an angry mob. After the debacles with the Bounty and Ray Rice cases, and afraid of another public relations hit, I think Brady got railroaded into a suspension to quiet the angry mob. Someone had to be the sacrificial lamb for this nonsense. Luke 23:21 “The crowd said, ” Crucify Him. Crucify Him.” Roger Goodell, who has integrity issues of his own, did exactly that.
Now, that I have made my case for a complete exoneration of Thomas E. Brady, all I can do is see what happens. Roger Goodell claimed after the
Owners Meeting in May that he was “open minded” and depending on whatever “new information Mr. Brady had,” Goodell was “not necessarily wedded” to the Wells Report. Goodell says lots of things. What he actually does, is a totally different matter. If he wasn’t necessarily wedded to Wells’ report, why did Brady get suspended? Why did the Patriots get hit with such a huge penalty, and penalized for Spygate again, if Goodell wasn’t necessarily wedded to the Wells report?
Besides, there’s something else at stake, Brady’s reputation and his legacy. As far as his NFL legacy, I think it’s intact. Trust me. You would have to to remove a lot of people from just about every Hall of Fame, if you are of the Polly Purebred mind. Brady is a first ballot Hall of Famer. As for his reputation, obviously, he wants his name cleared. Sadly, because this issue has become so polarizing, thanks to the NFL and the media, I’m afraid people are entrenched in their views. In the camp of the Brady supporters, his reputation is great. In the Brady haters camp, he is a villain.
As for the Patriots, he is a vital part of the team, and they want him for week one. The Washington Post’s Sally Jenkins wrote in her column, “Goodell painted himself into a corner of his own making.” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/redskins/as-brady-appeal-nears-roger-goodell-is-stuck-in-a-corner-of-his-own-creation/2015/06/17/a5fcbaa6-1456-11e5-89f3-61410da94eb1_story.html ) We will see how or whether Commissioner Roger Goodell wants to paint himself out of that corner. After all, there’s that angry mob called public opinion that Roger Goodell has to worry about.