Roger Goodell has to go. He can no longer be commissioner of the National Football League.

This isn’t the first time you’ve heard such an opinion. And it’s not the first time I’ve shared this thought. But now, more than ever, it needs to be imminent.

The main reason why? Right now the entire world is reading through Tom Brady’s personal emails. These include actual football conversations with his offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels; interactions with friends; dinner reservations; and even disputes over the color of his pool cover.

Sure, some of these emails are entertaining. Most of them aren’t Deflategate-related. And they don’t do anything to damage his reputation. But it’s the mere principle. What started out as questions about the air pressure in AFC Championship footballs, has turned into Brady’s personal emails being spread across the Internet like wildfire. 

Whether it was “judge ordered” or “NFLPA requested,” we should never have even reached the point where releasing Brady’s personal emails to the public was an option.

For that, Goodell has to go. For allowing Deflategate to get this far and to reach a level of absurdity that never would have been imagined by anyone, he has to go.

Goodell wants to protect the shield. He wants to pound his chest with honesty and integrity and stand up for principles that serve his league best.

Ok then. Let’s be honest. How does anyone in the NFL benefit from Brady’s privacy being destroyed? This isn’t some practice-squad offensive tackle we’re talking about here. This is Tom-bleeping-Brady. The reigning, defending, three-time Super Bowl MVP, four-time Super Bowl champion. And you’re going to do him like this, just because you think he was “at least generally aware” of some balls that may or may not have been deflated?

Again, we’re talking about the air pressure in a football. At least, we were six months ago. Now, in August, we’re all kicking our feet up and enjoying Brady’s private conversations on our mobile devices. And where will it end? If it can happen to Brady, it can happen to anyone. 

So it’s time for the rest of the league to step up. And it’s time for former players to put away the uniforms they used to wear and acknowledge that this has gone too far.

I’m sure Jim Kelly and Troy Aikman wouldn’t want us reading their emails. And I’m positive that Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti and Colts owner Jim Irsay wouldn’t want us seeing their private dinner reservations. Not even if it meant protecting the integrity of the league.

This goes beyond Deflategate. We’re talking invasion of privacy here. So forget about PSI levels in a football for a moment. If you have a voice, then have some balls. You want integrity? You want to protect the shield?

Then get rid of Goodell.

Listen to “The Danny Picard Show” every weekday at dannypicard.com. Danny can also be heard weekends on WEEI 93.7 FM and seen on Comcast SportsNet New England.