NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell today upheld the four-game suspension of New England quarterback Tom Brady, claiming some claptrap about Brady destroying his cell phone proved beyond all doubt the quarterback was involved in deflating footballs before this year’s AFC championship game. This is bogus. The cell phone was nothing more than the hook Goodell needed to hang his hat on. This is a racially based decision.
Look at the list of all the NFL players suspended at least two games for issues other than using recreational drugs since the hammer came down on Dallas nose tackle Josh Brent, who was suspended for 10 games in September, 2014, for being convicted of manslaughter. Think about that for a moment. Brent suspended for a manslaughter conviction, Brady for possibly letting the air out of footballs. Give me a break. But, I digress. Here’s the list of NFL players suspended at least two games since Brent: Baltimore running back Ray Rice, Miami defensive end Derrick Shelby, Detroit defensive tackle C.J. Mosley, New Orleans wide receiver Joe Morgan, Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson, Indianapolis running back Trent Richardson, Dallas defensive end Greg Hardy. What do they all have in common? They are all African-Americans.
Goodell was under a lot of pressure to inflict severe punishment on a prominent white player and Tom Brady fit the bill.
So Brady gets the same punishment as abuser Hardy. Absurd.
Here’s my problem with this whole deflating the football mess. The footballs allegedly deflated were used during the first half of the New England-Indianapolis title game. On offense, the Patriots played with the footballs it provided and the Colts with the ones it provided. The on-field officials handled those balls after every play and not one of them came forward during the game claiming there was a noticeable difference in the feel between the balls the Patriots used and the ones from the Colts.
But even if they were at different inflation levels, the evidence proves it offered no advantage to the Patriots. New England won the first half — the one allegedly played with deflated footballs — 17-7, but then came back and won the second half — the one played by both sides with regulation footballs — 28-0. This entire issue is bogus. If Brady is guilty of anything, he deserves to be hit with a hefty fine. But a suspension? And suspended the same amount of time as someone guilty of domestic abuse?
But Goodell needs to make an example of a white guy, to appease the growing uproar among black football players in the NFL who were claiming, with justification, that only black players were being punished by the league office, and Brady became the poster boy.
That, however, doesn’t make what Goodell did today right. It wasn’t.