Here’s a little something I don’t get. Tom is suspended for four games I assume without pay. I read somewhere that means he will not get 2 million dollars in pay from the Patriots. The Patriots were fined one million dollars. That means the Patriots will end up being ahead one million dollars since they’ll pay the fine out of the money they save on Brady’s contract payment.
It must be kept in mind that all that has been proven is that in one game the balls were not at the psi level they were supposed to be at. All conceded it had no effect on the game since the Patriot’s won in a runaway. Yet the four game suspension and two million dollar loss of money suggests the NFL believes that this was a pattern that Brady was following; in other words that he was cheating in other games, otherwise the penalty for him makes no sense. The NFL used language such as “an ongoing plan;” and “the evidence suggest that January 18th was not the first and only occasion when this occurred [evidence] . . . goes back to before the beginning of the 2014 season.”
The NFL did not stop there. It gave as reasons for the punishment the team’s prior cheating; the failure of the team to cooperate fully with the investigation; and finally, it all but accused Brady of lying “it is significant that key witnesses — Mr. Brady, Mr. Jastremski, and Mr. McNally — were not fully candid during the investigation.’
The NFL by taking that position severely tarnished Brady’s legacy. I suggest that because some of the games during the season were close, the advantage he gained using an under inflated football (easier to throw, catch and not fumble) may have made the difference between winning and losing. Or it may have bettered his passing percentage or touchdown statistics not only in 2014 but in every year he played. If that is the case then all of Brady’s achievements will be followed with an asterisk because with this penalty the NFL is asserting he was playing the game one way while the other teams were following the rules.
Those who know him and watched him play over the years know is a gross injustice by the NFL to leave that inference. He achieved those records because of the fire in his belly, his enormous talent and his desire to win. The NFL has wrongly besmirched his fine reputation.
The NFL is totally wrong inferring the balls were not inflated properly in other games because there is no evidence, nada, to show that. In only one game has the football been shown to be under inflated . Only one.
Tom Vincent wrote to Brady that his actions “clearly constitute conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the game of professional football.” I’d suggest what is more detrimental to the public’s confidence is punishing Brady for wrongs imagined. It is putting a cloud over him for sins that are imagined.
Brady is a great football player and person but he got jammed in here not because of the balls that did not come up to standards but because of the people who he has surrounded himself with. They have let him down and given him bad advice. Brady’s agent Don Yee with his outrageous comments during the investigation did nothing to mitigate his punishment. If I were Brady he’d be out the door before sunset.
As I recall Bill Belichick quickly washed his hands of everything pushing Brady out into the line of fire. How does he walk when he takes the credit for the team’s success and he overseas all the personnel on the team? Kraft with his demand for an apology, his defiance, his refusal to make everyone available to be interviewed also hurt Brady. Finally whoever was advising Brady throughout all this also hurt him.
You see everyone ran from Brady and let him hold the bag of blame. A simple mea culpa in the beginning may have saved Brady’s reputation and put this to rest. The Patriots were too big feeling to do that; they pushed back and all they really did was push Brady’s reputation into the Dempsey Dumpster.
Kraft now says Brady has the team’s unconditional support. What good is that now after his actions damaged Brady. If Brady realizes that no one had his back and they were all thinking of themselves and running for cover it will be difficult to imagine his reaction.
Brady, the enormously skilled and talented quarterback, after all the sweat, blood and tears he exerted on behalf of the NFL and the Patriots deserved better. The inference that he cheated all season is plainly wrong since there is no evidence of it. The severity of the punishment supports the inference. At worst it can be said Brady did cheat by not following the rules on inflated balls in that one game.
Brady has to wonder whether it is worth going on. This unconscionable penalty and treatment is a clear message to him that the NFL has no regard for him as a person or for the sacrifices he has made over the years. I wouldn’t be surprised if he told Goodell, Vincent, Kraft and Belichick that they can’t suspend or fine him because he’s going on to better things. It must be clear to him that they think little of him as a person to leave his legacy with this unconscionable verdict.
Goodell took away Brady’s good name for the good of the NFL. Brady would be smart to give Goodell a good-bye.