Sunday, May 31, 2015

Deflategate: NFL Stain

There are so many things about so-called Deflategate that do not make sense.

  1. If the NFL does not have any more evidence than what is in the report, then why were the Patriots fined one million dollars and docked two draft choices?  If there is no other evidence, why would the owner of the Patriots decide not to appeal the decisions? By not appealing there is a sense that there is something that was done that warrants the severe penalties. Yet there is nothing in the document--nothing--that is direct evidence.  
  2. If Tom Brady is innocent as he has claimed, why has he not gotten to a microphone and said something along the lines of, "Look. I did nothing wrong. I wanted the balls at 12.5 and that is legal.  You are sullying my name. This affects me and my family and I intend to sue for damages?"
  3. If the Patriots are innocent as they claim, why is Bill Belichick silent?  He is the most successful coach in NFL history and now if not before he is associated with cheating. Belichick is not much of a shmoozer but one would think that a lawyer for him would stand up and comment, unequivocally, that his client is being defamed.   

These three points make it seem as if the Patriots, Brady, Belichick must be culpable.  However there are other questions.

  • On every single play of a football game--every single one--a referee grasps the ball after the play and places it down on the turf. (Hence the etymology of the word "down" first down, second down etc.)  If the Patriots were guilty of deflating the balls, how is it possible that a referee could not have felt the deflation at some point during the game. If the Patriots habitually deflated balls, how is it possible that no referee in any game has commented that this is something they have noticed.  And if the differential was not discernible, how meaningful could any deflation have been?
  • Tom Brady has been the quarterback since 2001.  In those years he has had dozens of receivers who have come and gone from the Patriot organization.  If Brady typically or even occasionally deflated the balls, how is it possible that no former player, not one, has come out and said that this was typical behavior for the Patriots.  Some receiver who was disgruntled and not re-signed,  who has or has had some problem with the Patriots--how is it possible that not one who caught passes from Brady, shared the locker room, attended strategy sessions--has not commented. Not Givens, not Watson, not anybody?
  • Never mind just the receivers, how is it possible that no former Patriot player has said a word about this behavior. Revis mentioned that the Patriots cut corners and referred to SpyGate, but he did not say anything about deflating footballs. Lawyer Milloy left the Patriots on a sour note--no word from him.  Logan Mankins was shipped to purgatory, aka Tampa Bay Buccaneers--no words from him.  It does not make sense with all the media pundits weighing in and seeking news, that not one player or former Patriot coach has been found to say that they knew about this behavior. 
  • If deflating footballs creates some advantage for teams, is it possible that no other quarterback ever heard of it or considered doing it?  Where is the chorus of "Oh this has been done by scofflaws since the beginning of time"?  
  • If Brady was guilty, and the NFL had the goods on him, why would he be waiting so long to say, "I did it." If it is going to come out anyway, the longer he waits, the longer he puts off the inevitable.  And the more damage is done.
  • If the NFL truly wanted an independent investigator why didn't they pick one in consultation with the players' association? Information for the uninitiated: once you hire a consultant who may be "independent" in that she or he is not part of your organization--once you hire that person or group--they are no longer independent.  They are being paid by your organization.
  • If the NFL had the goods on Brady why has it taken so long for the NFL to get to the final amen.

The whole incident leaves me with questions. On one hand if the owner is not appealing, Brady and Belichick are silent, I think the NFL may have told the owner that they had the goods on the Patriots. On the other hand, if they had the goods where are they and where are the officials, other players, corroborations.

Regardless, this is a stain on the NFL and the commissioner's office.   Deflategate, more in the investigation than the alleged activity--has tarnished the game and dulled the enthusiasm of fans of the sport.

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