New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady‘s four-game suspension stemming from the so-called Deflategate scandal was reinstated by a U.S. appeals court Monday, April 25th.
“We hold that the commissioner properly exercised his broad discretion under the collective bargaining agreement and that his procedural rulings were properly grounded in that agreement and did not deprive Brady of fundamental fairness,” the U.S. Second Circuit Appeals Court wrote in its ruling.
Judges Denny Chin and Barrington D. Parker ruled in favor of the league, while Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann ruled for Brady. They didn’t look at whether Brady deflated the balls but rather examined Commissioner Roger Goodell‘s authority to decide on a punishment.
*Sigh* To me this is a sad day for the NFL. I grew up watching this guy dominate this game and entrench himself as arguable the greatest player in league history. That’s why I can’t fathom why the NFL is doing this to him. Why is it so important that Brady is suspended for allegedly knowing about some tampered with footballs? Or is he being suspended for the cell phone incident in which it was broken, yet he gave the NFL all the texts and information they needed anyways.
The thing about this story though is that everybody has a cognitive bias with it. Meaning that people are already inclined to lean one way or the other because of how they feel about each side already. The Patriots have easily become the most hated sports team in America (above even the New York Yankees in my opinion). They are constantly being flagged by league officials for whatever is going on behind the scenes there despite many other teams doing the same. Honestly, I just think the NFL is sick and tired of this guy Brady kicking everyones butts over all these years and can no longer market the Patriots as Super Bowl Champions. I mean how embarrassed are the other owners of Robert Kraft.
The problem I have with this case is that I think we have seen the NFL’s true colors throughout this whole process. It initially became about some tampered with footballs to now being about the commissioner’s authority. Brady had to take his case from the NFL’s court to the US justice court just to have a chance at his suspension being vacated. Because Roger Goodell consistently exercises his authority to be a “neutral” arbitrator. First of all, there is nothing neutral about Goodell’s position. He is a prosecutor in all of the NFL’s conduct hearings, therefore he has a conflict of interest in which party wins because he is representing one of the parties! How this got put into the CBA that the NFL and the NFLPA agreed to is mind-boggling to me. Anybody who pays attention to football knows that the players got completely fucked over on the deal. But even that one I am baffled as to how the NFLPA let them get away with.
Anyways, initially Judge Berman ruled with Brady citing that the NFL essentially did not give Brady a due process. They did not give him a fair trial within the NFL court. But then the NFL goes to the Second Circuit court and says wait a minute our collective bargaining agreement says we can do this. The contract we have with the players allows Commissioner Goodell to rule this way. He does not have to give them a notice of a suspension or a fair process. That is not required within our CBA. And the judges basically ruled well looks like you’re out of luck Tom because your CBA allows Goodell to do this to you. It does not have to fair or morally right, it just has to abide by the rules governed by the CBA.
However, the judges in the Second Circuit court were not unanimous. Judges Denny Chin and Barrington D. Parker ruled in favor of the league, while Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann ruled for Brady. So, now the score of judges is two for Brady and two for the NFL. So maybe Tom does have a chance if he wants to take these proceedings further. It certainly looks like that is the avenue that Brady intends to go down. I don’t see why not at this point with all that is invested in this matter as to why he should not take it all the way.
But what I can not understand is why is this so important to the league. Because lets face it Brady is one of if not the best player in NFL history. Doesn’t the NFL want to celebrate their great players? I mean don’t we love Joe Montana? I mean could you imagine in a million years that the NBA would suspend the great Kobe Bryant for twenty games for whatever reason?
I mean lets stop and think for a second about what Tom Brady has really done here. He was “more probably than not” to have known about playing with some tampered with footballs. What does that even mean?! More probable than not? Is that 51% he knew about them, 49% he didn’t know about them? How can you convict a guy with a shady judgement like that? Nonetheless, the NFL essentially gave the Patriots the death penalty for it! Docked $1 million and a first round pick in 2016 and a fourth round pick in 2017 (which by the way the Patriots recouped by swapping picks this year for the Seahawks fourth round pick next year, Goodell has gotta hate that). It certainly ain’t the right punishment in the US justice system, but this is the NFL’s court I presume.
Honestly, I’m pretty much fed up with the NFL at this point. There is no reason for Goodell to continue pursuing Tom Brady like this. Tom is a player that has made the NFL hundreds of millions of dollars and Goodell has the nerve to treat him like this, treat Tom Brady who has not been proven guilty by the way worse than rapists, wife beaters and murderers.
I didn’t have much respect for Goodell to begin with but now I have none, if I met him in person I’d probably spit on him I’d tell him that in person too. I respect him so little that I wouldn’t even pretend to be cordial.
Cleetus went in depth with his reactions so I’m going to keep mine short (I can feel my blood pressure rising as I’m writing this), the NFLPA needs to strike unless Goodell gives this up, this isn’t about Tom Brady this is about precedent. If the NFLPA goes along with this, what they are saying to Goodell and any governing body in the future is that “you are free to suspend any of our players for any reason without proof or explanation”.
I’ll not be supporting the NFL for the four weeks Brady is suspended if it stands, no fantasy football, not TV commercials, no idiotic jersey purchases.
Screw you Goodell, you’ve taken something I once loved and turned it into something of league office politics.