All summer, the sports world has heard about the “Deflategate” scandal, and it looks like it is finally over for now.
Judge Richard Berman ruled on Sept. 3 to overturn the four-game suspension the National Football League placed on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
It was the right decision, and not what the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wanted, who gave the suspension.
The decision to overturn the ruling is great for the on-field product. Now the league will have one of its best players for a quarter of the season.
The biggest problem with the initial suspension was the grounds in which the NFL decided to suspend Brady.
The NFL hired attorney Ted Wells to conduct an investigation on the issue in order to determine Brady’s role in “Deflategate” and to determine if balls were illegally deflated in last year’s AFC Championship game.
After weeks of investigating, Wells finally released his findings, which ultimately led to the suspension.
The issue with his findings was that he never conclusively discovered whether or not Brady deflated the footballs, or if Brady even had a role in the deflation of the footballs at all.
After months of investigating and interviewing personnel for the Patriots, all that came out of it was that it was the notion that Tom Brady “more likely than not” had a role in the issue.
That’s right, the NFL decided to suspend one of their biggest stars, and most recognizable players because he might have had a role in deflating footballs.
That is ridiculous.
The Patriots’ do have a sketchy past with rumors of cheating, but if an investigation that lasted basically all summer cannot definitively say Brady did it what he was accused of, then you cannot suspend him.
Especially not for a quarter of the entire season. It’s not like Brady was a repeat offender of deflating footballs or had a negative history with the NFL. With most suspensions that Goodell hands down, they make sense, this one did not.
The player that gets suspended usually is a repeat offender of a certain rule, or was arrested for doing something terrible. With Tom Brady, none of that is true. He has a clean track record.
So suspending him because he may have taken a little air out of some football makes no sense.
Another issue with the initial suspension was the length of time combined with the penalties already handed down to the Patriots.
The Patriots, as an organization, were given a large penalty for this debacle. They were fined $1 million and also docked two draft picks – a first round pick in 2016 and a fourth round pick in 2017.
The Patriots have had a history of doing questionable things and deserved more than just a slap on the wrist; however, a four-game suspension for their quarterback did not fit.
Ray Rice was suspended four games for domestic violence, in a horrible tape which the world saw. The league had clear evidence what Ray Rice did, and only chose to suspend him four games.
With Brady, they did not have substantial evidence, and still handed down a four game ban.
To the public, having the two suspensions be the same length does not look good. It has the appearance that the NFL thinks domestic violence, and maybe deflating footballs is equal.
Clearly that is not what the NFL was going for, and it doesn’t look good, especially in sight of the Greg Hardy suspension which was docked from ten games to four after the horrible things he did to his girlfriend.
If the NFL wanted to punish Brady, a fine would’ve been much more reasonable. Though, when Judge Berman urged the two sides to reach a settlement on the suspension, it was clear Brady wasn’t going to accept any kind of suspension and why would he?
The NFL had no distinct proof that he actually committed any kind of wrong doing.
While a ruling was issued on the case, the worst part is that this still isn’t over.
The NFL plans to continue the appeals process since they were not happy with the ruling.
Roger Goodell issued a statement after a decision was made and said, “We will appeal today’s ruling in order to uphold the collectively bargained responsibility to protect the integrity of the game.”
That means we are in for many more months of “Deflategate,” the only topic in the NFL which nobody wants.