By Terri Bey
After a meandering, and rather wasteful 545 days, since a controversy called “Deflategate, “which emerged after the 2014-15 AFC Championship game in Gillette Stadium, where the New England Patriots defeated the Indianapolis Colts by a score of 45-7, I am here to announce that the dreadful affair is over. On July 15,2016, Patriots QB Tom Brady ended his legal battle with the NFL, and accepted his four game suspension for his alleged involvement in one of the dumbest scandals in the history of sports. Those close to the Brady camp say that the decision by the Second Circuit Court to deny an en banc review was “demoralizing,” and he didn’t want to risk a suspension later in the season, and wanted to “move on to football, “per Mike Reiss of ESPN. ( http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/new-england-patriots/post/_/id/4793883/demoralizing-decision-from-court-helped-spark-tom-bradys-decision )
Now, that this sordid mess is over, onto this blog. There have been so many “hot takes.” Many of the experts and fans have chimed in on “who won,” and all. I have read discussions about Brady’s legacy, and Goodell’s victory. I wonder if there are any winners, at all in this mess.
Did Roger Goodell “win?” Yes. He won the public relations war against Tom Brady, and the legal war. After all, how did ESPN’s Chris Mortensen get the information that contained the two main LIES that started the “Deflategate” narrative, way back in January of 2015? The first one said that “11 of 12 Patriots balls were substantially under the 12.5. legal limit, and Mortensen confirmed that 11 of the 12 balls were 2 pounds under the limit. The second lie was that “All 12 of the Colts’ balls were within range.” Not only was Mortensen fed lies, but the NFL KNEW they were lies. Four and a half months later, if anyone read the charts in the very faulty “Wells Report,” only ONE of the Patriots’ footballs was 2 pounds under 12.5 PSI, per one of the gauges.
They also only tested FOUR Colts balls. How could the NFL claim in January, that all 12 Colts balls were within range, when they knew they only tested four? The NFL KNEW that only ONE of the Patriots footballs were 2 lbs under the 12.5 PSI, but yet, they LIED. Goodell’s office leaked all this, and other lies to make Brady and the Patriots look guilty in the public eye. Goodell has the nerve to talk about “integrity of the game.” Is assuming the Patriots are guilty, and making up the story as you go along, your idea of “integrity,” Commissioner? The Patriots had no chance to defend themselves against the NFL.
When this nonsense got to court, after Roger Goodell denied Tom Brady’s June, 2015 appeal of his suspension, it appeared that Goodell just had to win. After all, he messed up so many scandals, like Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, BountyGate, etc. I guess, with the Second Circuit Court in his back pocket, Goodell felt he had to show the owners that he was the strong-armed, tough Commissioner, they hired. I mean, to punish the NFL’s star player over a minor violation, that the NFL knows they couldn’t prove, just to show the rest of the players how powerful the Commissioner is, just screams pettiness and desperation. Especially when several owners want to get back at Kraft, and feel that the Patriots got off easy for “Spygate.” So-called “makeup calls” may make some feel good, but it’s not justice.
I don’t think Roger Goodell will be seen in a positive historical light. He is the modern-day version of Kennesaw Landis. Had he, Troy Vincent and Mike Kensil known anything about how a football worked, and about a simple Law of Physics, called the Ideal Gas Law, this dumb controversy would have, and should have never gotten started. These people, who are supposed to be intelligent, acted as if they had never been in a foul weather game before that AFC Championship game. Had these people used common sense in that locker room at Gillette Stadium, they should have told Colts owner Jim Irsay that the footballs deflated naturally, due to the weather. However, the NFL just had to make this an issue, because of their messing up the Rice Case, and making the 31 other NFL owners happy.
Tom Brady’s image took a hit, when “Deflategate,” took off. There were people, who acted so piously and self-righteously, when his name was mentioned. People need to take a step back, and realize that this was not the big deal that the NFL made it out to be. Will “Deflategate” and the suspension be on his record? Absolutely, but we are not talking about Lance Armstrong, or Barry Bonds. I think this nonsense will be a blip on his record, as time passes. He will get past this episode, and continue his legendary career. Upon retirement, Tom Brady is going to go down as one of, if not the greatest quarterbacks to ever live.
THE LOSER- SCIENCE AND CRITICAL THINKING
There is a “loser” in this mess, and it’s science and critical thinking. There’s a saying, “A lie can go around the world twice, before the truth can put its boots on.” It is so true. As I said, the NFL controlled the message, concerning “Deflategate,” right from the start. I didn’t know what was true or not. It didn’t help that ESPN and the mainstream media blew this story up, and turned it into a cottage industry. All viewers saw and heard were these “hot takes,” mainly Brady-bashing, especially on ESPN, which has an anti-Patriots bias anyway, with some exceptions. It didn’t matter to people, when scientific professors from Carnegie Mellon, Columbia University, and the University of Chicago said that the footballs deflated because the atmosphere and the weather (Ideal Gas Law). People still parroted the nonsense that came from ESPN and the mainstream media.
When I tried to show people that the footballs deflated naturally, I was blown off as a Patriots fan. I read plenty of articles, criticizing how Goodell handled “Deflategate,” particularly Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post, and she was accused of being a Brady fan. What has happened to critical thinking? I am very saddened to see that a Commissioner’s power has trumped science, and the ability to think for oneself.
People were too blinded by their biases to see that the Brady court fight was about the CBA. It’s always about the CBA. When Adrian Peterson took his case to court, it was also about the CBA. When Ray Rice took his case to court, that was about the CBA. One other thing. Just because Brady ended his legal battle, it doesn’t mean he admitted his guilt. It means that he wanted to move on with his life.
The reason I bring this up is that I see so many myopic fans telling Brady to “shut up, and take the punishment,” or “The players agreed to the CBA.” Well, one can see from the aforementioned examples that you can easily say those things to those players, as well. One could have told the BountyGate players to “Shut up, and take the punishment.” I think these people are saying this, because of their blind hatred of Brady. While I agree that the players signed on to the CBA, and such, fans can’t pick and choose which player should “shut up, and take the punishment.”
As for the science, most people know that science is under attack, mainly by the Conservative Right. So, it’s another reason why “Deflategate” was allowed to prosper. Also, jealousy is a strong emotion. Therefore, many people don’t like Brady regardless, therefore it’s a lazy way to incorrectly call him a cheater, than to accept the scientific evidence that clears not only him, but the Patriots. It’s a shame that the NFL didn’t understand the fairly simple science behind what happened. Yes, I know about the “circumstantial evidence.” It goes back to the ignorance of science. Had Goodell, Kensil, etc. known that footballs deflated naturally in cold and wet weather, this entire investigation would have never gotten started, and it should never have gotten started.
Now, that this adventure is over, we all know that Goodell has the power to destroy any player he wants. If his investigators want your phone, hand it over. If the NFL needs to look at your computers, just give them the password. The NFL is now allowed to lie, and misrepresent stuff. Now, they will go easy on you, if you cooperate to their satisfaction. In other words, Roger Goodell is allowed to move the goalposts, and there is nothing the players can do about it.
I hope you enjoyed this blog. Feedback is welcome.