The NFL has suspended New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for four games without pay in relation to “Deflategate”. If you are unaware of the “deflategate” situation, which has flooded nearly every news outlet recently, it describes an incident in which the team was found to have used underinflated footballs in the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts. For the record, the advantage of using an underinflated ball is that the quarterback will be able to grip the ball easier.
Aside from Brady’s punishment, the Patriots as an organization were fined $1 million and will forfeit its first-round draft pick in 2016 and the fourth round pick in 2017. The NFL hired attorney Ted Wells to investigate the incident that happened back in January. Wells recently released a 243 page report detailing his findings. The report found that “it is more probable than not” that Brady was “at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities” relating to the underinflated footballs.
With news of the punishment Brady and the Patriots were receiving, voices were quick to be heard through social media. Some taking time to explain why they thought the punishment was too harsh, others exhibiting disgust in that they thought all parties were let down easy. And then there were some lashing out at the NFL as a whole and questioning the integrity of the league.
Over that last few seasons, the NFL has caught a lot of controversy with domestic violence cases surfacing about some of its players. Now with Deflategate bringing the league even more attention I feel that Roger Goodell handed down a punishment like this one because he didn’t have a choice. Goodell simply wanted to make sure he got this case right and wasn’t going to take any chances. Do I think Tom Brady knew about the underinflated footballs? Probably. Do I think that the evidence presented by the Wells Report was strong enough for a four game suspension without pay? Certainly not. In my personal opinion evidence that says “it is more probable than not” isn’t very strong. That’s like asking if it’s going to rain in Seattle, in which I would respond “it is more probable than not.”
At the end of the day Tom Brady is still one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, no matter the PSI of the football he’s throwing.