So now that we’ve had a few days to digest the clusterfuck and bullshit that is DeflateGate, I’m gonna try my best to take a step back and be as rational and unbiased as I can.
First, I have no idea if the Patriots and Tom Brady did anything wrong and what it was. Anyone who says they do is a liar and a moron, to put it bluntly. If I had to guess, I’d say that all teams, Pats included, view football inflation the same way that baseball teams view the pine tar rule. Don’t try to break the rules, especially not egregiously, but if you underinflate or overinflate them by just a little bit, it doesn’t really matter, because no one cares or checks and it doesn’t actually affect the game. So if I had to guess, I’d say the Pats were out of bounds due to a little bit of sloppiness and a little bit of apathy that every other team also has been a part of.
And that makes the punishment the legal equivalent of getting a few years in prison for a speeding ticket. Check that, for it being “more probable than not” that you were speeding, as was the ruling of Ted Wells’ faux-independent report. In the rule books, it says that teams are supposed to get fined $20k for a ball violation, and the Patriots got a fine of 50 times that, a 1st round pick docked, and then the player involved got as much as a steroid suspension, even though there’s nothing about punishing the player for something like this in the rule book.
Apparently, the appeal in court might come down to whether or not the NFL followed proper protocol and not whether or not Brady is guilty. Yeah, that sounds a lot harder to prove, but I’m not sure the two are separate. If the NFL can’t prove Brady’s guilt, then did they really follow the proper protocol in suspending him if they’re not entirely sure? Physicists and physics professors or labs from Harvard, MIT, Columbia, and BC, as well as seemingly tons of independent labs, have shown that weather could easily cause the PSI droppage in the balls. If the NFL didn’t account for that, did they really follow proper protocol?
And what’s more, they simply did not follow the right procedure. The NFL edited the Wells report, which is a complete joke. It was supposed to be independent, and something is not independent if one of the parties involved in the study changed the wording or whatever.
Another way they didn’t follow proper procedure: The Colts were worried and notified the NFL and Mike Kensil before the AFC Championship about the possibility of underinflated balls, and the NFL didn’t do anything about it until during the game, which goes against the mantra of “competitive balance” and “protect the shield” of the NFL. What if the Pats had dominated in the 1st half with underinflated balls, and then struggled in the 2nd half with properly inflated balls? That would have completely undermined a conference title game, and the NFL is lucky it didn’t happen, because they prioritized screwing the Patriots over competitive balance.
And lastly in terms of protocol, now we know that the Patriots begged the NFL to correct false reports (cough Chris Mortensen), and we also know that the NFL or some source (honestly, probably Mike Kensil) lied about D’Qwell Jackson complaining about the football when he caught the interception, that Goodell lied about the NFL not knowing before the game about the balls maybe being underinflated, and that the league was pretty dishonest in general about which text messages Brady gave them and what they needed. So, on those grounds, Brady should win the case because the NFL’s proper procedure was pretty far off.
What does concern me a little, but not a ton, is the “destroyed” cell phone. I put it in quotes because I have no idea what to believe. I know that the NFL had the texts they needed that involved Brady because they got everyone else’s phones, and I think I know that Tom Brady wouldn’t be stupid enough to smash his own cell phone right before it was due like Aaron Hernandez giving a smashed phone to the cops. If Brady got rid of his phone right before it was needed, then it casts enough doubt that I’d be surprised if the suspension was overturned, but somehow I doubt it. I fully believe that his phone wasn’t needed, but I’m unsure if Brady purposefully didn’t help as much as he could have regarding the phone. He was under no obligation to, but it may hurt him in court, regardless of whether or not it should.
All that being said, there was exactly one piece of news this week that was really bad for Brady, and it’s being under reported in my opinion. The NFL successfully got the lawsuit to be in Manhattan and not either MA or MN, which is where a former judge ruled against Goodell on some of his legal fuck ups in recent years, ie Adrian Peterson. That doesn’t kill Brady’s case, but it definitely hurts, because, as unbiased as everyone says they are, no one can subconsciously not remember certain things in the past that they were an instrumental part of. The Minnesota judge would remember very well how bad the NFL’s protocol is, and that would easily come into play. The NFL won this battle, but it remains to be seen who will win the war. Goodell kept Brady’s suspension at 4 games specifically for posturing, so that he and the league can say that they were 100% right on their original actions and not cast any doubt about how they handled it.
The next big things is whether or not Brady gets an injunction. If he does, then he can play while the lawsuit is still happening. If he doesn’t, then he may not continue to try the case because he’ll miss games anyway, but I hope he does just because Roger Goodell is a joke, just like Ted Wells. Goodell says that scientific explanations don’t matter to him and only the word of Ted Wells’ company, Exponent, does, and that company was once paid by Phillip Morris to say that tobacco isn’t that bad for you. And Goodell is the son of a senator, and I’m sure that Papa Goodell is rolling over in his grave at how much disrespect his son has for the United States law.
I tried being unbiased, but the facts really are in the Patriots’ favor. Not that facts matter to Goodell.
PS, for a more comprehensive look at this, read this piece from barstoolsports. It actually is serious and actually is factual, regardless of the tone and content the website usually has.