“Deflategate” is finally over! The NFL concluded their investigation by coming down hard on the New England Patriots, sort of.
Two of the Patriots’ staffers, who allegedly deflated footballs after inspection for the AFC Championship Game, have been suspended indefinitely. That comes from the Patriots’ front office.
The Patriots have been fined 1 million, and they will forfeit next year’s first-round draft pick. They will also give up a fourth round pick in 2017.
And what of Tom Brady, the purported mastermind behind all this? He’ll serve a four-game suspension for his “role” in “Deflategate.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL front office went soft on the Patriots. If they had enough proof, Brady should have been suspended the entire season.
There’s that key phrase again: “enough proof.”
That’s the defense Brady and the players’ association will use to appeal his suspension. They’ll turn the NFL’s ruling into a farce.
Brady is slated to miss the first game hosting Pittsburgh, an away game at Buffalo, a home game against Jacksonville and a game at Dallas. Backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo would be in line to start those games.
Brady would return in Week 5 for an away game against the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts are the same team that accused the Patriots of deflating the footballs and lost that AFC title game.
Everyone is in hot water for this debacle. And when the season officially opens in Foxboro, the talk of the town will be Brady’s absence.
Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft stated how the punishment was wrong:
“Despite our conviction that there was no tampering with footballs, it was our intention to accept any discipline levied by the league. Today’s punishment, however, far exceeded any reasonable expectation. It was based completely on circumstantial rather than hard or conclusive evidence.”
That’s the problem: circumstantial evidence.
The NFL failed in conducting a thorough investigation and ruling an improper verdict. Tom Brady failed for withholding information that could’ve clearly defined his role in this scandal. The Patriots failed in ignoring the issue and reaping the spoils of their latest Super Bowl victory.
We’ll never know if the Patriots were truly involved in this scandal. We do know that clearly resources were wasted on attempting to discover the truth. Shame on all parties involved.
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