So, how in the world did we get here? And why exactly are we doing this?
The sad part is, nobody really knows.
What we do know is that this circus is called “Deflategate.” And we know that we don’t actually know for sure if anything happened to the AFC Championship footballs because no pregame PSI levels were documented by referee Walt Anderson.
As a result, the Patriots received the harshest punishment in league history, Tom Brady was suspended four games, and the NFL has implemented mandatory documentation of pregame inflation levels, beginning this season.
On Tuesday, commissioner Roger Goodell announced that Brady’s four-game suspension would be upheld. He used the intentional destruction of Brady’s cell phone as a major reason to make him serve the same amount of games as Greg Hardy, a legitimate criminal, whose 10-game suspension for domestic violence was recently reduced to four.
Brady responded with a passionate facebook statement. Patriots owner Robert Kraft delivered a powerful message to Goodell in a Wednesday press conference. And it appears that this is going to court before it’s all said and done.
By the time you read this, perhaps you’ll be sick and tired of having to listen to people’s theories on what happened to the AFC Championship footballs or why Brady actually destroyed his phone.
The answers to those questions, we may never know. But the fact that we’re still trying to search for those answers is just downright disturbing.
Whether you believe Brady smashed his phone because he didn’t want investigators to see his texts to Patriots locker room attendants, or because he didn’t want anyone to see any of the other private things on his phone after he upgraded to an iPhone, we can all agree that we should never be to the point where we even have to question what Brady is doing with his cell phone.
It started with the air pressure in a football. It should have ended shortly thereafter, without a suspension, without an appeal, and certainly, without the now very-well-publicized idea that the reigning Super Bowl MVP was destroying crucial evidence to cover up a serious crime, resulting in a suspension the same exact length of an actual criminal.
Had common sense prevailed even once in the last six months, the NFL would have spent more time figuring out their own rules, or at least finding officials who can get them right. Because by now implementing mandatory documentation of PSI levels, Goodell is admitting that nobody really cared enough about the PSI rule to begin with. And if that’s true, then why have you taken “Deflategate” this far, especially since — as a league — you don’t even have any real factual evidence that someone broke your previous rules, the rules in which you just admitted you weren’t taking serious enough.
Maybe Kraft was right in his verbal assault of Goodell on Wednesday. Maybe the NFL is too focused on trying to prove its original theory correct, rather than look to come up with a fair and just decision.
Or maybe the NFL truly doesn’t know what it’s trying to do anymore. The league now finds itself in a war it didn’t have to be in. And rather than throw in the towel, Goodell just continues to fight.
For reasons that he nor anybody else really knows.
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