It's one of the biggest controversies in recent NFL history. Is Tom Brady a cheater?
He’s a 4x Superbowl champion, 3x Superbowl MVP, 2x NFL MVP, 11x Pro Bowler, and he’s married to Gisele Bundchen, but is he also a cheater? The American legal system seems to think so as Tom Brady’s suspension for supposedly deflating footballs has been upheld by the courts.
Where it all began:
In the 2015 AFC Championship game the Patriots towelled the Colts in a 45-7 drubbing. A day later the NFL is tipped off by a trainer of the Colts who thought the footballs provided by the Patriots were underinflated. The NFL hires attorney Ted Wells to lead the investigation into whether the balls were up to scratch.
The Wells report:
The Wells report was published and concluded that 11 of the 12 balls used by the Patriots were underinflated compared to league standards. Although most of them were slightly below the minimum air pressure, the report also cited a text message where a low-level staff member of the organisation referred to himself as ‘the Deflator’. After the report, Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Brady four 4 games, fined the Pats $1m and docked the team 2 draft picks.
Patriots v the NFL:
The Patriots appealed the suspension and requested a neutral arbitrator… Seems fair? No, Goodell said he would oversee the appeal personally. Brady appealed the suspension in the Federal court as the parties were urged to negotiate a settlement. No such settlement came to fruition and on September 3 Judge Richard Berman overturned the suspension and condemned Roger Goodell for dispensing ‘his own brand of personal justice’.
The NFL took the matter to a 2nd U.S District Court of Appeals to reverse Berman’s decision and succeed. On the 25th of April, Donald Trump told the NFL to “leave Tom Brady alone” – nothing happened, literally, nothing at all. Brady appealed the suspension on the 23rd of May 2016 and unfortunately had the suspension upheld on July 13.
What happens next:
Thankfully the Pats have a Jimmy, a Jimmy Garopolo. He’ll be the team’s signal caller in the first 4 games of the 2016 season. The team’s 2nd round pick from the 2014 Draft will have massive shoes to fill, stepping out of the shadows of arguably one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. No pressure mate. As for Brady, regardless of whether he is truly guilty, this façade has brought the NFL into disrepute and drew the world’s attention to the dangerously unbridled power that Roger Goodell wields. Brady’s suspension for deflating footballs with inadequate evidence was the same as Greg Hardy’s domestic violence suspension and Le’Veon Bell’s missed drug test suspension. Call me biased, but there is no way an underinflated football compares to a domestic violence charge or a repeat offender pertaining to the testing of banned substances. The NFL needs a reality check and that starts with Goodell himself. Until the player’s union pulls up its socks and renegotiates the collective bargaining agreement, suspensions will be handed down depending on what side of the Bed Roger Goodell woke up on.