DeflateGate: The Threat to Roger Goodell’s Power

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Ashley Hallenbeck/The Carolinian

Michael Fields
    Staff Writer

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has been in the news lately over controversial decisions he has made over the past couple of years.

The NFL and NFL Players Association are trying to make a deal that would limit the disciplinary powers of the commissioner’s office to only on-field incidents. This is important because the NFL commissioner should have the power to discipline players and/or organizations for actions off the field.

People may wonder why the NFL and NFL Players Association wants to strip NFL commissioner Roger Goodell of his disciplinary powers. There were a few instances which made the NFL and NFL Players Association want to come to this agreement.

Many people did not like the way that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell handled cases involving current Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. However, the case, which stands out above the cases of the Peterson and Rice cases, is “Deflategate.”

Deflategate occurred in the 2015 AFC Championship Game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts.

The New England Patriots were accused of tampering with the game balls. Various outlets confirmed that the New England Patriots staff let pressure out of the game balls to make the footballs lighter for quarterback Tom Brady to throw in the cold, rainy weather.

There may be people who say, “what is the big deal?”

Well, it was a huge deal for the New England Patriots to act in this way.

First, it was snowing during the AFC Championship Game. The deflation of the game balls made it much easier for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to throw the ball.

This is huge, because the New England Patriots are known for throwing the ball constantly in their offense. Second, it was in the AFC Championship Game. New England went on to defeat Indianapolis and advance to the Super Bowl. Third, this is not the first time that New England has been accused of “cheating.”

There was another New England Patriots scandal in recent memory called “Spygate.” Spygate occurred when the New England Patriots recorded opposing team’s practices. This way the Patriots would know the teams plays before they even played them in that week. The Spygate scandal occurred when the New England Patriots won Super Bowls in 2001, 2003 and 2004.

Did any disciplinary action happen to the Patriots from Roger Goodell when the commissioner and the rest of the country learned about Deflategate? On May 11, 2015, the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell announced that it would suspend Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for four games of the 2015 regular season for his alleged part in the scandal.

After the NFL had its own internal investigation of Deflategate; it stood by its decision of suspending New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for four games during the 2015 regular season.

However, this important matter was moved into federal court and on Sep. 3, 2015, Judge Richard M. Berman came to an important decision. He vacated Goodell’s four-game suspension of Tom Brady.

His reasons were legal deficiencies of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell of inadequate notice to Brady, Goodell’s denial of the opportunity for Brady to examine a lead investigator and Goodell’s denial of equal access to investigative files.

Many people from around the NFL and fans and others have agreed that the Deflategate scandal is the last straw for Roger Goodell in terms of his disciplinary power.

Many people are tired of the Patriots in particular and other players getting off of the hook for their actions. They are tired of seeing organizations and players not being disciplined for various inappropriate behavior.

Roger Goodell has disciplined people and organizations in the past, but in most cases, the disciplined has not been sustained throughout the entire process. Now with an appeal and the “Deflategate” case back in court, Goodell needs the judge to rule on his side.

If not, this will be another black mark on an already unpretty record when it comes to Goodell disciplining players.

Categories: Pro Sports, Sports, Uncategorized

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