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…
I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.