Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Brady Goodell redux

Another puzzle piece.

Today Commissioner Goodell has rejected the request by the NFL players' association to recuse himself from assessing the merit of Tom Brady's appeal.    This seems to set up a guaranteed court case subsequent to the adjudication by Goodell unless Goodell dismisses all penalties against the player and the Patriots.  If Goodell reduces the fine/suspension, there still would be a court case if Brady continues to assert he did nothing wrong.

So what do we have.

  • A report that declares that Brady was generally aware of tampering, but declares the team's coach and ownership innocent of wrong doing. However, despite the declared innocence, the team is penalized one million dollars and two draft choices.  
  • Brady is suspended for four games without pay. Brady claims his innocence.
  • Kraft, the owner, declares that despite an earlier claim, he will not appeal the penalties. However, he asserts that he believes the quarterback is innocent of any wrongdoing.
  • A commissioner asserts he will be open to hearing what the quarterback has to say and that he does not necessarily agree with the report that the consultant generated.   However, his office issued the penalties.
Before Kraft announced that he would not appeal he met with the commissioner.  There are two possible ways that meeting went and either could explain how the pieces of this puzzle fit. 

At the start of the meeting Kraft told Goodell that the decision to penalize the Patriots was inappropriate and that his player and the team were innocent.  Then, one of two things occurred.

  1. Goodell told Kraft that he had the goods on Brady.  That there was more evidence than what appeared in the report.  Goodell told Kraft that the NFL was doing the Patriots and Brady a favor given what they knew about what Brady did. Kraft saw the evidence. He knew that Brady was culpable. So he issued the statement that despite that "he knew that Brady was innocent" --when he knew the opposite was true-- it was in the best interests of the league to accept the penalty.  This was a deal he made with Goodell to keep Goodell from exposing the picture of Brady with the kangaroo. Kraft could still publicly claim to support his quarterback and attempt to salvage some face by declaring that his guy was innocent.
  2. Goodell promised Kraft that he was eager to hear Brady so that Brady could give him a speck of evidence which would make it easy for Goodell to declare that the original report lacked the necessary information to exonerate Brady.  Goodell could then claim that given the "new" information, the penalties against both the team and Brady would be rescinded because, in fact, there was no evidence that anyone had done anything illicit.   
No other scenario makes sense.   

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