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Day: July 29, 2015

On Tom Brady, ‘deflategate’ and ESPN’s shall we say ‘biased’ reaction…

Ah it is nice to be writing about something that isn’t politics. I need to write more non-politics blog. Remind me of this people.

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about by looking at the title then here is the simple version of the story. During the AFC Championship Game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts, the footballs that the Patriots were using (both teams play with different footballs when on offence – like that makes any sense) were seemingly not up to the required pressure. After an investigation it was determined that the Patriots quarterback Tom Brady probably knew that this was the case and it was in fact a deliberate ploy. The commissioner of the NFL banned him for four games. That same commissioner was also the appeals judge and in shock of all shocks, he rubber stamped his previous decision.

Now when you read that you might think that if Brady cheated then he deserves a ban but there is no actual proof that he knew of the under-inflated footballs. It was determined that it he is all probability knew but they had no evidence that he in fact did. Still the verdict that no evidence doesn’t matter was reached and Brady got slammed. Yesterday when the commissioner announced that Brady’s four-game ban would be upheld it wasn’t a huge shock (like the man would overturn his own verdict on appeal – hah) but I was genuinely appalled by the narrative that the so-called worldwide leader in sports set on the story.

They focused on the fact Tom Brady wouldn’t turn over his phone for investigation. Well I’m sorry people but the NFL doesn’t have power of subpoena and why should he turn over his phone? It is up to the NFL to prove that he cheated and not Tom Brady that he didn’t. That is the world we work in, well I thought we worked in anyway. That was essentially the only thing ESPN talked about, that by not handing over his phone and destroying it, it showed that he had something to hide and why the ban was rightly held up. Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times speaking on the ESPN show Around the Horn went one stage further by saying the ban should’ve been doubled, it prompted me to tweet that he was becoming the biggest douchebag to ever appear on the show and when you considering TJ Simers and Jay Mariotti have been on that show – that says something.

ESPN personality after ESPN personality lined up to slam Brady and praise the NFL. Talk about defending the shield. Next you’ll be telling me that ESPN has the NFL’s back because they are business partners and the NFL are unhappy with how ESPN have been covering the sport and you might even start to think that Bill Simmons constant attacks on the NFL were a significant factor in why ESPN let go of their biggest non-rights asset. It was left to Dan LeBetard on HQ and the always excellent Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbonon on Pardon the Interruption to defend Brady and attack the NFL on this. My favourite line is one Kornheiser keeps saying that even if Brady did it, it is like watering the base-paths in baseball, it is a non-issue.

Look I’m not a Patriots fan so my point of view isn’t determined by my rooting interests. I’m a Jags fan and if Brady’s ban is held up then when the two teams face up in week three he would be banned. My other rooting interest is I want Peyton Manning to receive a second ring and that would be helped if the Patriots had a backup Quarterback for four games. Yet I also believe in fairness and if a player (even if he did it) deflated the balls, I don’t see how that can be worthy of the same suspension as a player who violently assaulted his ex-girlfriend then I have real issues with the. The optics are just flat out terrible. The NFL as tough on air pressure as they are on domestic violence. Go NFL!

Tom Brady released the following statement this morning and it sounds like this is going to federal court. I hope Brady goes in kicking and screaming, taking down the NFL on the way. I am firmly of the opinion that this case has little to do with the facts but more to do with other owners wanting the Patriots taken down a peg or two and I believe there are other considerations at play as well.

I am very disappointed by the NFL’s decision to uphold the 4 game suspension against me. I did nothing wrong, and no one in the Patriots organization did either.

Despite submitting to hours of testimony over the past 6 months, it is disappointing that the Commissioner upheld my suspension based upon a standard that it was “probable” that I was “generally aware” of misconduct. The fact is that neither I, nor any equipment person, did anything of which we have been accused. He dismissed my hours of testimony and it is disappointing that he found it unreliable.

I also disagree with yesterdays narrative surrounding my cellphone. I replaced my broken Samsung phone with a new iPhone 6 AFTER my attorneys made it clear to the NFL that my actual phone device would not be subjected to investigation under ANY circumstances. As a member of a union, I was under no obligation to set a new precedent going forward, nor was I made aware at any time during Mr. Wells investigation, that failing to subject my cell phone to investigation would result in ANY discipline.

Most importantly, I have never written, texted, emailed to anybody at anytime, anything related to football air pressure before this issue was raised at the AFC Championship game in January. To suggest that I destroyed a phone to avoid giving the NFL information it requested is completely wrong.

To try and reconcile the record and fully cooperate with the investigation after I was disciplined in May, we turned over detailed pages of cell phone records and all of the emails that Mr. Wells requested. We even contacted the phone company to see if there was any possible way we could retrieve any/all of the actual text messages from my old phone. In short, we exhausted every possibility to give the NFL everything we could and offered to go thru the identity for every text and phone call during the relevant time. Regardless, the NFL knows that Mr. Wells already had ALL relevant communications with Patriots personnel that either Mr. Wells saw or that I was questioned about in my appeal hearing. There is no “smoking gun” and this controversy is manufactured to distract from the fact they have zero evidence of wrongdoing.

I authorized the NFLPA to make a settlement offer to the NFL so that we could avoid going to court and put this inconsequential issue behind us as we move forward into this season. The discipline was upheld without any counter offer. I respect the Commissioners authority, but he also has to respect the CBA and my rights as a private citizen. I will not allow my unfair discipline to become a precedent for other NFL players without a fight.

Lastly, I am overwhelmed and humbled by the support of family, friends and our fans who have supported me since the false accusations were made after the AFC Championship game. I look forward to the opportunity to resume playing with my teammates and winning more games for the New England Patriots

Look, I have no idea if Tom Brady did know anything or indeed if he directed anyone to change the air pressures in the football but I know this, the NFL seemingly have no real proof either way and the NFL look like they are using ESPN as their mouthpiece to try and win the battle in terms of public opinion and that stinks. This now isn’t about deflated footballs but about a man’s legacy. Tom Brady is one of the greatest to have ever played the position and this tarnishes his reputation. I have even heard some media personalties say that he shouldn’t make the Hall of Fame because of this. Madness.

So Tom Brady v the NFL in Federal Court. This my friends could be fascinating and it might not shock you who I’m rooting for…

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On why sometimes being a Lib Dem makes me lose sleep…

Last night folks I was ticking. Not tickling, which would’ve probably been a lot of fun but ticking. I’ve been ticking on a certain subject for quite a while but last night it exploded and I was still awake at 3 and possibly even 4 this morning seething. What could be making me so mad? Well it is the air of arrogance that some members of the party have and how instead of engaging in debate, they prefer to make a pithy comment in an attempt to show their moral superiority. I’m sure all parties have these people but as a member of this one, I see these more and they are so cocksure of themselves that anyone even attempting to engage in debate needs to be swatted away in a dismissive style.

The story that brought it out last night was one from last year that people only noticed yesterday and the hand wringing was in full flow. The story was that Alison McInnes MSP wasn’t selected at number one in the North East Regional list for the Scottish Parliament. This showed that the Lib Dems were still anti-women, deep down sexist and morally wrong according to a number of people. I don’t know Alison nor Mike Rumbles, who got the top spot, but the issue wasn’t about them as candidates to some people, it was solely about gender and the fact the members who selected the candidates position on the lists got it wrong.

For writing this blog post I’ve just gone back to the thread that really charcoaled my Chilean Sea Bass (does that work?) and it got a tonne worse after I ducked out. This is the comment that first got me rumbling:

I don’t believe anyone accused individual members as being sexist, but sexist outcomes are sexist outcomes.

So this member put the result down as a result of sexism. Now in isolation this is essentially saying that any time a man beats a women in a selection then it is a sexist result. Surely no-one can actually believe that? I mean if that is the case then they are saying that any woman is superior to any man because any woman would be a better candidate than any man in any scenario. That is what people are saying if they actually believe that.

At this point I have no doubt that people reading this will be thinking, ‘oh that is such bullshit, that isn’t what they are saying, they are saying that Alison is better than Mike and anyone who disagrees is sexist’ but that thought process alone suggests that selecting candidates is a black and white process and one selection is right and one is wrong. As I said earlier, I have no idea of the credentials of either candidates in this case but the members who do have more of a knowledge will have a better insight and maybe they are best placed to select who they think the best candidate is rather than someone 100s of miles away and only sees the sex of the candidates as a determining factor.

So I waded into the thread. I won’t c&p the full comment as you need to read the whole thread for full context but I essentially said that if members in that particular area weren’t mature enough to pick the right person then you’d expect that those members are just as mature as the rest of the membership ergo none of us are mature enough to make the right selection so who should make every selection? I suggested Tim Farron but then questioned what some people would say if he picked the wrong person according to some people, it didn’t need to be a majority of dissenters because as we’ve seen the majority can get things wrong as seen by Rumbles > McInnes in the regional lists.

The response I got:

The big irony about the comment above is the historically it is *women* who got dismissed for being hysterical.

Boom. Man talk about lowering the boom and not engaging in the actual point. This is the type of person that blows my mind. Instead of engaging in debate they instead have an opinion and anyone who points out the issues in their opinion or indeed has a different opinion needs to be dismissed as being inferior (or indeed in my case hysterical). Why would I take such a thought from the above, well later in the thread after I’d ducked out the same person speaking to someone else said:

I don’t think that everyone in North East Scotland is sexist but I am working on the fairly safe assumption that anyone who comments on this thread with “are you accusing x of being sexist?” is sexist. Or dim. Take your pick.

So no-one in NE Scotland is sexist but they got a sexist result (not sure how that can happen – smells rather oxymorony* to me) but then to call people dim if they disagree with your PoV is self-righteous to the max and is a problem I have come up against on many an occasion (although to be fair this is mostly online and rarely do you find this attitude with people you meet).

The person who got that comment responded thusly and sums up my thought process perfectly:

Blinkered self righteous people like you are part of the problem not the solution , bend the knee to your view or we are all sexist or dim….ever looked in a mirror?

Some people believe that they are right and that is quite simply that. Those that disagree are not smart enough to see the world like they see it. That air of superiority stinks and a disproportionate amount of Lib Dems have that. Now I can counter that with having met many Lib Dems and having debated issue where we disagree but there are been a debate and you understand each others views but still disagree and move on and that is great, that is exactly how it should be. We can’t and won’t always see eye to eye on the best way forward to fix issues, that is human nature but when someone says that they are right and anyone else who disagrees is dim, it frustrates the hell out of me that some people are just so dismissive of other views and other people.

You see the issue here (after over 1,000 words) isn’t about what the issue should be about. The issue should be about whether a woman should ever be deselected/moved down a list. That is the point that is up for debate on this. Instead it has turned into a debate about how the result was sexist and proves that the Lib Dems need more provisions in place to ensure a greater proportion of women are in place as candidates. That is a legitimate debate and one I might get into at some point but instead I am just mad at people who have decided that because they have an opinion and you might not share that opinion then they are better than you.

I’m not singling out this one person as I’ve seen in on many occasions by a group of people. It is times like these that make me less inclined to go to Conference and instead spend the money on a holiday to Barbados or somewhere (scarily the prices aren’t that much different) because it makes you question whether you belong amongst so many people who are clearly on a different plane of existence to my humble self that I might not even be intelligent enough to be worthy of a hello.

Apparently this may sound hysterical to some people (I think that term is great, most people who know me accuse me of being too cold and emotionless but apparently I have so much emotion that I can be hysterical – beautiful) but some people really can make others feel inferior and that isn’t right. There needs to be a way to bring more equality to the elected representatives across sex, sexuality, ethnicity etc. but there are different opinions on how to do this but there is also the issue that many members see how others are treated and instead of standing up instead roll their neck in and don’t put themselves out there in case they have different opinions to the most vocal. That is just as much of an issue with encouraging people to step forward to stand as candidates.

To put your head above the parapet, man or woman, gay or straight, white or black takes a lot and if you see others being dismissive you really would naturally think twice. I know I would. The most unedifying part of politics is being dismissed out of hand as being wrong. I’m sure I’m wrong a lot, I’m human but if I am I want to know why and not just get the sense that others believe that I’m inferior. That is where I struggle and it is sad to say that a number of Lib Dems (again online mostly, haven’t really found that much locally or face to face when out and about) have made me feel this and that sucks and makes me lose sleep. Sad times.

*I know oxymorony isn’t a word but it just felt right

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