We’re Onto Supreme Court.
I’ll be completely honest, I’d much rather have no story to write about this week than have to report on this horsesh**t. A year removed, and we continue to listen to the depressing story of how Tom Brady is a cheater, trained by the Dark Arts master, Bill Belichick to cheat his way into Canton.
Even if you’re not a Brady fan, it’s getting a little old. But really, I’m not going to tell you anything you haven’t already heard. Everyone has an opinion on this story, and nobody’s opinion is going to change based on this article.
But the funny thing is, this isn’t even about Brady anymore. The worst problem here is that Brady is the poster-boy for a battle he has no control over.
Deflategate, as we know, started when NFL workers found that the air pressure in game-day footballs was under the standard PSI after the Patriots dismantled the Colts in a 45-7 game during grueling weather (I was there, I can tell you it was a monsoon). We’ve heard it all before, Brady didn’t touch the balls but he may have known about suspicious activity, equaling a 4-game suspension by the “Fuhrer” himself: Mr. Goodell.
Regardless of whether or not he did it, picture this: You’re accused of foul play at work, and are now in trouble. Maybe it’s leave without pay, maybe you’ll be fired, that doesn’t matter here. People have been talking about how your boss doesn’t do enough with punishments, so he’s licking his chops to showcase some Grade-A authority. Now, imagine that this gets released to the world, and that people actually care about your job and this ‘foul play’, all of the sudden you’re a villain. That’s defamation of character. Further, imagine your boss – the accuser, has complete control of the situation (judge, jury, executioner) without any concrete evidence to give you a punishment other than the evidence your boss payed an outside reporter to “discover”. All of the sudden, normal routine things for you become a problem that everyone has two-cents to weigh in on (furthering that defamation of character). And with all of that weighted on you, the union you are a part of has literally nothing they can do, because of a previous agreement. This is Tom’s position, and it’s a shi**y one.
But throw out my attempt at making you understand Tom’s position, throw out your opinion on the case. Throw out the hilarious Barstool protests, the shameless ESPN articles, the revenge Super Bowl win and the many press conferences. Throw science out the window, and throw football altogether out the window. The sad truth is, it has nothing to do with any of that anymore.
In reality, since the punishment was originally handed out, the chapter surrounding the life of Brady has ended. This case is actually something far more unsettling.
For Goodell and NFL executives, this is the greatest thing that could happen to the NFL. Brady is a household name, but he’s not “America’s sweetheart” like Peyton Manning was considered to be. Many people are mixed on the opinion of Brady, and everyone is passionate on their opinion of him. So when the offseason comes around, a scandal around a big name like Brady’s, with an action that truly doesn’t effect anyone negatively (unlike a child or spouse abuse controversy, NFL’s typical problem), and that can extend the tabloids during the NFL’s off-season is absolutely perfect. After all, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Instead, this was the perfect publicity for the NFL off-season, creating drama only the WWE could imitate. This time last year, every co-worker had something to say about a pointless scandal, professors had corny jokes on-tap about air pressure, and yet nobody knew a damn thing about PSI’s. Not only does the NFL continue to dominate headlines of the sports world during the NHL and NBA playoffs; Roger Goodell also gets to exercise his love for discipline, power, and “integrity of the game.”
To wrap all of these things into a perfect cocoon of madness, here’s my thesis: Deflategate is a maddening battle for freedom between the player’s association and Goodell, while Tom Brady is the handsome scapegoat that has no choice but to captivate our attention.
Truthfully, the real problem has nothing to do with Tom Brady anymore.
Just how much control does Roger Goodell have over his players: his employees?
How much control does he have over his employees’ unions?
Simply put, ownership and Goodell can do whatever the hell they want to whomever the hell they want. They have complete control over the outcome of their employees – their players.
To make matters worse is the manner in which Goodell and the ownership committee abuses this power and views their players. Isn’t the phrase “innocent until proven guilty”? Anyone who has payed an ounce of attention to this case knows it has been the opposite for Mr. Brady – guilty until proven innocent. What does that say about the fairness of this business? This case sets a precedent for NFL players in the future, and each and every one of them should be fired up about this. Essentially, if you do something the commissioner doesn’t like, you’re screwed. You can fight it, but you’re still screwed. At this point, the case is more revolved around the liberties and rights an employee, a player in the NFL, has in their everyday life.
I’m sure Jets or Bills fan are sitting back cracking a cold one and laughing their way to the bank right now, but they shouldn’t be. Because it can happen to you and your team whenever the hell Roger feels like it. You don’t think every NFL team does whatever they can to gain an advantage? That’s the nature of any business, and if people went dirt digging, you could find anything about anybody. The argument is no longer about the quality of the human being that is Tom Brady, or the ethics of the New England Patriots. What this is now is whether or not Roger Goodell has a dictatorship over the NFL. And since many of you readers out there are NFL fans, this should terrify you. Since many of you are employees in the work field, this entire case should disturb you.
Let’s just pray Tom fights this to Supreme Court.