Thursday, September 3, 2015


On January 30, I posted on this blog an article in which I discussed what has been referred to as "Deflategate."  I concluded that article by saying, "If it is proven that the Patriots organization somehow willfully manipulated the psi of its footballs, I will be the first one to advocate for stiff penalties and suspensions, but I'm fairly confident that won't happen.  However, I'm also confident that as long as they keep winning, the press and most of the American public will continue to hate them.  Maybe that's the real scandal; you can call it Hategate."

I took a lot of crap for that article, but since that time:
  • We've read the (ridiculous) Wells Report.
  • We saw Robert Kraft accept penalties in the hopes of sparing Tom Brady.
  • We watched in awe as Roger Goodell absurdly heard an appeal of his own decision.
  • We've seen Tom Brady take the NFL to court to clear his name and get his 4-game suspension nullified.
About 40 minutes ago, Judge Berman, who heard Brady's case, issued a 40-page decision overturning the NFL's suspension of Tom Brady.  According to the New York Times (a few minutes ago):
  • The 40-page decision picks apart the N.F.L.’s case, finding a number of faults and reflecting Berman’s skepticism in recent court hearings.
  • Berman said Brady could not be suspended for “general awareness” of others’ conduct, as an N.F.L. investigative report determined.
  • “Brady had no notice that such conduct was prohibited or any reasonable certainty of potential discipline stemming from such conduct,’’ the judge wrote.
The 40-page ruling was just made available, and in it, the judge called into question the validity of the Wells Report finding that "it is more probable than not that Brady was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of McNally and Jastremski involving the release of air from Patriots game balls."  With regard to that allegation, the judge wrote, "With respect to ‘general awareness’ of others' misconduct--which is the principal finding in both the Wells Report and the Vincent Letter--Brady had no notice that such conduct was prohibited, or any reasonable certainty of potential discipline stemming from such conduct. The Court concludes that, as a matter of law, no NFL policy or precedent notifies players that they may be disciplined (much less suspended) for general awareness of misconduct by others. And, it does not appear that the NFL has ever, prior to this case, sought to punish players for such an alleged violation.

Forgetting the legal aspects of the ruling, the fact is that the judge poked holes in the Wells Report, repeatedly citing misinformation and inconsistencies.  The truth remains that this whole story would never have gotten any traction if it hadn't been about the New England Patriots, of whom the other teams and fans are jealous, and it should not have marred the celebration of the team's fourth Super Bowl victory.

I hope that the story ends here, but I believe that Goodell will not let it rest, preferring to take down the best team, and one of the best players, in the league he purports to represent.  Whatever he does makes no matter to me as I bask in the vindication of my favorite football player.  I guess we should now call it Vindicategate.

1 comment:

  1. Will the other owners continue to support Goodell? Or will they face the fact that he has tainted the NFL brand and, forevermore, be viewed as incompetent? Thoughts?