Serious question. Why are we doing it? I was going to post this last week after the decision was announced. However, the last preseason game was that night and roster cuts were keeping most of us occupied. But, now that the roster is “final”, or as final as it can be, I’m sure many people will turn back to hand wringing over Brady. I just don’t understand it.
People will make the argument that Brady and the Patriots have a long history of bending the rules where they thought they could get away with it and this is just another example.
Fans will make the argument that the Patriots’ dramatically improved turnover statistics post 2006 (Warren Sharp’s May ’15 debunking of his attempted debunkers), Brady’s own personal fumble rates after the rule change, text messages between Jastremski & McNally and those between Jastremski & Brady, the balls being taken without permission into the bathroom by McNally, Jastremski & McNally being fired while the team maintains that they did nothing wrong, Brady destroying his phone at his lawyer’s behest and Brady’s reluctance to implicate himself in the investigation are clear “proof” that “something” was going on.
People will insist that because <<insert player’s name here>> was suspended for something that did less to impact the integrity of the game, that Brady should absolutely get the book thrown at him and that everyone, New England fans and the media included, should all collectively say, “Shame On You, Tom Brady“. Or that because <<insert player’s name here>> was suspended for “probably” having done something that Brady should be too. That the precedent was set.
I say, so what?
Look, you’re getting your way. It just isn’t coming exactly the way you want it to come. The court of public opinion rendered it’s decision a while ago and has adjourned court. As has been pointed out to me by a Pats fan no less, the burden of proof for common sense is lower than the one for legal purposes, even in civil proceedings. That standard was met long ago and most sports fans have already decided that Brady was involved, obstructed the investigation and that had he turned over his emails and text messages, the picture would be very clear.
People have listened to your arguments about Brady, Belichick, Dougie Spoons McNally, et al and they already believe you. Let it go.
Face it: Hypothetically speaking, Tom Brady could be caught driving down the road with a dead hooker in his trunk while beating his children and Patriots fans would still make excuses for him and cry in disbelief. Stop trying to convince them. You have better things to do with your time. Their agreement with your point of view doesn’t matter. Brady’s reputation is ruined anyway.
As I pointed out in June, from now until the end of time, every time that the Patriots of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are brought up anywhere, anytime, cheating will be a part of the conversation.
You have already won.
Let it go.
You got what you wanted and as an added bonus, Roger Goodell has been made to look like a horse’s ass, once again, by the NFLPA in court. See? It’s not so bad.
Besides, based on their comments, the Steelers players, to a man, all want Brady to play and have all along. Mike Tomlin seems indifferent, but definitely wants to stop answering questions about it and concentrate solely on 2015.
Do all of you have valid arguments about why Brady should be punished? Maybe. But he is being punished, so it doesn’t matter. His reputation has been given a stain that will never wash out. His endorsement opportunities will take a nose dive as quickly as his likeability has, maybe faster.
Let me take a quick moment to remind you that what Judge Berman ruled on were NFL procedures only. He said the NFL could not punish Brady for non-cooperation or “general awareness” of anything without warning the NFLPA first.
Nowhere in Berman’s decision does he mention inflation, deflation, PSI, guilt, innocence or anything having to do with the original accusation that Brady was involved in a scheme to make footballs easier to handle during the course of a game by exceeding the lower threshold set for a game ball’s PSI.
In short, what Berman did was say that the NFL was wrong, not that Brady was right nor that he is innocent. Despite some grave dancing Patriots fans’ points of view, this accusation is not dead. Unfortunately. Far from it. The NFL will appeal and this circus will go on, possibly for years.
The NFL mishandled this thing almost from the jump. Tom Brady got bad advice and followed it; almost from the jump. The parties most affected by this? NFL fans who have invested and continue to invest energy into it.
I echo Mike Tomlin’s sentiments, “It’s too bad we have to carry last year’s garbage into this season.”
Photo Credit: CBS Sports