Common Sense Prevails: Tom Brady Absolved of Four Game Suspension

Roger Goodell Sad NFL Deflategate Tom BradyThere are no “ifs” “ands” or “buts” about it – today was a good day for sanity and common sense. In case you haven’t heard Federal Judge RIchard Berman has just today ruled in favor of Tom Brady and the NFLPA on the issue of “Deflategate”. Tom Brady is no longer suspended for four games to start the season. Of course the NFL is appealing (because Roger Goodell has not an ounce of humility) so we might be right back in this nonsense again later in the season, but for now: Tom Brady will play and more importantly, you’re still innocent until proven guilty (which the NFL failed to prove time and time again) in federal court!

Get ready for our opinions on the ruling and this entire circus that was/is “Deflategate”, here they come!

Cleetus’ Opinion

Where do I even begin to say where the NFL fucked this case up? So, basically the NFL has resided on the CBA (collective bargaining agreement) that they negotiated with the players association which gives Roger Goodell the authority to be an arbitrator in his own rulings. And that’s fine because that is in the CBA. However, the NFL has interpreted that as meaning that Goodell can just do whatever the fuck he wants and treat each case however he wants. But, as an arbitrator, Goodell still has to give Brady due process which is basically Brady’s right to a fair trial. Now, I read all forty pages of the judge’s ruling in the Deflategate case and basically the first thirty pages are a summary of what has happened in the case up until it went to court. Then the good stuff happens in the deposition.

So, there’s a couple reasons why Brady’s suspension was overturned. And believe it or not it doesn’t even have to do with whether he’s guilty or not. It’s the NFL’s resolution and method towards determining Brady is guilty. First of all, the NFL has said all along that Ted Wells in an “independent” investigator in the case. However, Wells was asked by Brady’s defense if he works for the NFL and he said that yes indeed he was. That’s strike one for the league. You can’t have an employee of the NFL be an “independent” investigator for its own NFL vs. PA (players association) case. In the past, the league has had Paul Tagliabue (former commissioner of the NFL) participate in league cases as an independent representative which is fine considering that he’s retired from the league and doesn’t work for them.

Here comes strike number two. During Brady’s arbitration case, the NFL denied Brady access to NFL counsel Jeffrey Pash’s involvement in the Wells Report. Legally speaking Brady is allowed access to any documentation or evidence against him in his own case. Especially considering that the Wells Report and Pash are “independent” investigators in the case. That’s not gonna fly in federal court. It’s bad enough that both Pash and Wells are employees of the NFL in this case as well as many other representatives in the case.

Strike three is where the NFL did not present any clear evidence against Brady in upholding their suspension. And I’m not even talking about whether he was guilty of participating in the deflation of footballs. When Brady’s defense asked why the NFL decided to uphold his suspension the league was unable to point specifically why they upheld it. They said well it’s a combination of un-cooperation with their investigation as well as participating in deflating footballs. But they didn’t point specifically to say how they came to that conclusion. They could have said, well uncooperation is worth a one game suspension and ball tampering is worth another one game suspension as well as a fine. And the combination of all violations were calculated to equal this ruling that we have given Brady. But, they didn’t elaborate on that. They just spoke in generalities for why they came to their conclusion to uphold their suspension.

Strike four (I’m not talking about baseball anymore) was that the league did not provide Brady with a notice as to what type of penalty he could expect for his violation. They compared it to a performance enhancing drugs violation which is a four game suspension. However, the PED violation is supported by vast medical research into how steroids and other substances are bad for your health as well as testing procedures and suspensions or related discipline. No player has ever been suspended for ball tampering. Jay Feely was a kicker for the New York Jets and he was reportedly using a kicking ball that had been tampered with by the ball boy. The league suspended the ball boy and did not penalize Feely at all. In fact, the CBA says that the league can only issue fines to executives, owners, and team personnel. The last fine that the league gave for a ball tampering violation was about $5,000. A far cry from the $500,000 that they issued Brady.

Notice how I’m not even talking about whether Brady was guilty or not. It was the process to how the NFL founded him guilty. It’s fine that Goodell is an arbitrator in his own case. That’s in the CBA and he has that right. However, he still needs to follow due process and what is called the “rules of shop” (I think that’s what they’re called, I’ll get back to you on that) that applies to all defendants in arbitration cases. The NFL has insisted that Goodell is the judge, jury, and executioner in the league and can rule however he wants without any restrictions.

The league has already filed an appeal (not quite sure why, I thought this was to give the league exposure during the off season) but I have no faith that it will be overturned. The league’s only defense will be that the CBA gives Goodell the authority to rule however he wants in the league. But the appeals court are going to say, sure however he still needs to run a fair trial and follow federal protocol on how to arbitrate cases which he clearly didn’t do in this situation. Brady was denied access to evidence against him in his case and the NFL did not use “independent” investigators in this case.

What does this mean for Goodell? Well, I don’t think that he will be an arbitrator in another NFL case. Unfortunately, I don’t think he will be relinquished as commissioner of the league. He has done a very good job of making the owners very, very rich and the league hates the Patriots. This was a complete witch hunt and the league has been made a mockery. In federal court, the NFL is 0-5 (i.e. Adrian Peterson case, New Orleans Saints bounty case, Ray Rice case, Greg Hardy case, and now the Brady Deflategate case). They have no merit what so ever as to their “process” for how they decide the outcomes for their decisions and have insisted on the power that the commissioner has been granted in the CBA agreement.

I really hate to see this kind of stuff happen. This is terrible for the league. The players association and the NFL need to have a strong relationship when it comes to resolving matters. There are too many employees of the NFL participating in these “independent” cases and they look like a joke. I don’t think there is any credibility left in the league and their interpretation of the CBA is completely flawed. They conduct their investigations without taking in common sense law that even rookie law school graduates understand. Goodell relies too much on public opinion and pressure from the owners to make rulings without giving both parties a fair trial.

Bishop’s Take

Deflategate… the latest in a saga of ridiculous “scandals” to add the suffix “gate” to the name in reference to Watergate. The funny thing, I bet most of these people saying Deflategate, or spygate or donutgate, or emailgate don’ even have any idea of where the “gate” suffix came from. This is because people are stupid. Mainly, young people are stupid, all they care about is celebrity gossip and what their dumb celebrity idols tell them to do (have you ever been on twitter, it’s mostly awful). I’m not an old person but I would also consider myself well-read and apprised to important current events and history. Most young people today would assume the “gate” suffix came from the previous Patriots scandal (non-scandal) Spygate… Like with most things these young people are wrong.

The whole Deflategate scandal is a bunch of nonsense. Do you want to know what I think drove this whole train? The NFL’s desire for greater revenue. Think about the timing of the scandal. Aside from the fact that it took entirely too long to conclude, this scandal took place in the off-season. A time when nobody is going to the NFL’s website. As a website operator I can attest to you just how much money the NFL made off those hits that otherwise wouldn’t have occurred during the offseason. Millions upon millions of dollars. ESPN got in on this too, as interesting as baseball is (it’s not), far less people visit sites like ESPN for baseball news as do for football news, all aboard the gravy train! If you don’t believe me just go back to the start of this nonsense and go see how many articles were posted and update with absolutely zero new information, there were tons of them all on the same websites. Everyone wanted to know what would happen to the Tom Brady and the Super Bowl winning Patriots. Speaking of that last bit, would this have even been a thing if the Patriots didn’t win the Super Bowl? My guess is no, this would have been settled back in February and it would have found its place in the typical “The patriots are cheaters” book of lore published by the Jets and other haters. The Patriots did win the Super Bowl however, so Roger Goodell decided to pull Deflategate back to the front page, milk it for all it’s worth.

My biggest problem with Deflategate is that this is the first time the refs or league has ever weighed a football during or after any NFL game. They have no point of reference yet they assume it was unusual for the Patriots balls to be deflated to the manner they were. They say “The colts balls weren’t as deflated”, so what? The colts had a terrible game, their balls got used and abused less than the dominant patriots. Perhaps getting crushed by several 300 pound giants causes the ball to lose more air… Certainly makes sense doesn’t it?

Whose job is it to police the footballs and determine if they are underinflated? You’d think it was that of the referees, you know the people paid to police the game… They admitted to improperly testing all the balls before the game yet somehow this equates to the NFL giving Brady a four game suspension? If these NFL refs were unable to determine these footballs were SLIGHTLY underinflated, why should a player know or care?

Let me be clear, I don’t for a second doubt that the Patriots are always pushing the rules to the limit, it’s why they keep winning. Bill Belichick is the best there is at finding loopholes or omissions in the rulebook, so much so that most of what he does one season is made illegal the next. I could argue the same about deflating footballs however I think the fact that Brady did far superior in the second half when he was not using the underinflated footballs doesn’t really fit the narrative. You’re trying to tell me the Belichick and Brady are breaking the rules to put themselves at a disadvantage? What honorable guys they are! Trying to give the hopeless (let’s face it they suck) Colts a helping hand like that.

Even if the Patriots did deflate the footballs, the penalty was supposed to be $25,000 if it was proven. It wasn’t proven and yet Tyrant Goodell decided to levy a stiffer penalty than was doled out to a player who was caught on video beating up his gold-digger wife. Everyday almost all of us break the law. We speed, we jay walk, we spit out our gum (littering)… Are we supposed to turn ourselves in to the police? That would be very honorable of you to do but I don’t know if the police would make anything of it, however if a police officer caught you and determined it was enough of a crime to ticket you, he would. This leads me to believe that either A) the NFL refs are totally incompetent, B) The NFL refs were too lazy to do their jobs or C) There was nothing unusual regarding the air in the footballs used during the AFC Championship game.

Roger Goodell has shown what an idiot he is with the Deflategate proceedings. He could have ended this nonsense after the Wells report. To anyone with half a brain the Wells report indicated there was no proof of any wrongdoing by Tom Brady. “More probable than not” that’s the phrase that should haunt Roger Goodell for the rest of his tenure as NFL Commissioner (hopefully not very long), he could have used that as a way out, instead he doubled down and issued Tom Brady a ridiculous four game suspension based on nothing. There were many, many, MANY chances for Goodell to save face and not look like the moron he apparently is. It was reported time and again that Brady was willing to take a 1 game suspension (without admitting any wrong-doing) just to put this behind him. Goodell was too cocky to take that deal, again he continued to press the issue forcing Judge Richard Berman to rule on the outcome.

The ruling Judge Berman handed out was just. Based on a bunch of things that you can read for yourself Judge Berman determined that Goodell’s four game suspension of Tom Brady was unfair punishment for the possible wrong-doing. Goodell picked an arbitrary (abnormally harsh) penalty to give Tom Brady – one on par with users of performance enhancing drugs and/or violent criminals. Judge Berman saw through this nonsense and must have decided that because the NFL was unwilling to work with Brady he had no choice but to negate the entire suspension.

As soon as the ruling came down speculation emerged that Goodell and his band of idiots would most likely appeal the decision, only a couple hours later we heard it straight from the jackass’ mouth, that they would be appealing the decision. Goodell just doesn’t know when to quit. As if this wasn’t already a PR disaster for the NFL (a corporation going on a witch hunt against an individual) he just refuses to accept reality, and it’s pretty obvious there aren’t many marbles left in that big ‘ol head of his. You can still save yourself Goodell, just forget to file the papers for the appeal and let this all be done with. I’ll end the way I began, people are stupid… They will forget about your follies, you’ve already achieved your goal of defaming Tom Brady and ruining his image, you can still save yourself the humiliation of getting beat not once but twice in federal court.

One more thing: Bob Kraft… If you’re listening stop chumming around with Goodell, at this point he is the enemy. Don’t invite him to your owner’s box anymore, it makes you look like a traitor.

Tom Brady Deflategate decision opinions roger goodell