Courtesy of Nola.com
It is time for NFL fans to move out from under the black cloud of ignorance and misplaced
anger directed towards the New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady. Since allegations
claiming the Patriots deflated footballs beyond the legal limit during the AFC Championship
came to light, an unending stream of legal battles and bad publicity has consumed the NFL.
Over the last few months, courtroom battles stemming from the allegations have mutated
into a monster, destroying Commissioner Roger Goodell’s already fragile reputation, while
further tainting the Patriots’ image among casual fans.
Why have football fans exhibited such rage over a situation so mundane? The Patriots
“allegedly” deflated footballs, meaning prosecutors haven’t proven beyond doubt that the team
violated any league rules regarding the air pressure of footballs. Even so, fans have come at the
team with vengeance, claiming the allegations taint ever aspect of the Patriots’ legacy.
While fans are entitled to their opinions, and exemplify a passion for the sport with their
determined stance; it is the way the NFL has gone about dealing with Deflategate that has left the
rest of the sporting world laughing at its ineptitude.
Starting on the day the accusations came out, the NFL has looked to alienate and embarrass
the Patriots’ franchise. Taking away future draft picks and fining the team millions of dollars
wasn’t enough to satisfy the power-hungry Goodell, who proceeded to drop a four-game
suspension on the face of the league, Tom Brady.
This decision marked the zenith of Goodell’s incompetence during his reign as commissioner.
Just months after he handed down a two-game suspension to Ray Rice [Baltimore Ravens
running back] for beating his wife, a crime committed in a public elevator under the eye of
security cameras – he leveled a four-gamer on Brady for a crime we don’t know he committed.
Goodell, a self-proclaimed enforcer of justice within the ranks of his league, deemed the
deflation of footballs a more heinous crime than domestic violence.
The hypocrisy exhibited by Goodell during the last several years of his commissionership has
been blatant and comical. Ray Rice got a two-game ban for beating his wife; Brady got four
games for allegedly deflating footballs. Greg Hardy [Dallas Cowboys defenseman] got four
games for severely beating his girlfriend; Josh Gordon [Cleveland Browns wide receiver] was
handed a 16-game ban for smoking marijuana.
The punishment should fit the crime, and too many times during Goodell’s reign, it hasn’t.
The severity of each indiscretion in question should be weighed against its real world
consequence, not against the commissioner’s personal measuring stick of righteousness.
The Deflategate ruling is a joke. This fact was affirmed, in no uncertain terms, by the
District Court Judge who threw out Brady’s suspension based on lack of evidence. By no
measure is the possible violation of an arbitrary rule within the confines of a sport built upon
greed and an unquenchable desire to win worse than beating a loved one unconscious in an
elevator. The profound lack of logic boggles my mind.
It’s time for NFL fans to step back, pull the blindfold off their face, and identify the true
villain of Deflategate, Roger Goodell.