Tommy, Tommy, Tommy.
Following months of mind-numbing chatter from science nerds over the deflation possibilities of a football, public discourse over the reach of the NFL commissioners office and conspiracy theories that have bordered on the inane, the NFL announced Tuesday that it is upholding the four-game suspension handed down to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Let me catch my breath for a second. That was a ridiculously long sentence.
In review, Brady was suspended in May by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for allegedly conspiring with team employees to deflate footballs before his Patriots took on the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game last January. The theory behind his motivation was that the ball would be easier to grip, throw, catch and hang on to, particularly in the cold weather.
Since that original suspension was announced, we have been bombarded with scientific reports that have stated that the balls could have lost that air pressure naturally, considering the conditions, and subsequent reports debunking those reports. There have been allegations by Patriots fans that the NFL “has it in” for the Patriots, and that this entire ordeal was a slap in the face to Brady, a man they consider beyond reproach and a thumbs-up-from-a-pope away from obtaining sainthood.
There have also been theories from people on the other side of the coin, who believed Goodell had more information on Brady than he was letting out because it would be detrimental to the league’s fortunes if their golden boy was publicly embarrassed. And then there are those who just believe the Patriots are chronic cheaters, and that this amazing run of dominance the Patriots have enjoyed is due to the fact that their coach, in particular, will stop at nothing if it means his team gets a win.
Of course, the meat-and-potatoes of Tuesday’s announcement was that the league was upholding the four-game suspension for Brady following his appeal, but that wasn’t the nugget that had everybody talking. No, that would easily be awarded to this little piece of information: Brady reportedly told his assistant to physically destroy his cell phone on the very day he was to meet with independent investigator Ted Wells.
“Brady’s deliberate destruction of potentially relevant evidence went beyond a mere failure to cooperate in the investigation and supported a finding that he had sought to hide evidence of his own participation in the underlying scheme to alter the footballs,” the NFL said in a statement.
Now, Brady is not one you’d expect to just roll over and accept defeat. Anyone who has watched him play knows that he gets himself into a frothy lather whenever his team is losing and, more times than not, he wills them to victory through sublime play and hyper-competitiveness. Within hours of the announcement that the NFL would be upholding the four-game suspension, the NFL Players Association announced it will appeal this latest decision on behalf of Brady in federal court.
So, yeah, there’s plenty more to come.
Brady fired out on his Facebook page Wednesday morning, expressing his disappointment that the NFL was upholding the ban, and continuing to proclaim his innocense with bluster. He said that he replaced his “broken” phone only after he told the NFL he would not be handing it over, and claims to have contacted the phone company to try to get a transcript of his records and texts so he could supply them to the investigator, but was unable to do so.
This will go on for a while. Some will say that Brady got flat-out busted and it’s time for him to man up and tell the truth, while others will say everyone else is jealous of the Patriots’ success so this is a witchhunt to knock them down to size.
Yes, I’m sure that’s exactly what the NFL had in mind here. Pick a fight with arguably their most marketable player and four-time champion, accuse him not only of ordering balls to be deflated but also destroying evidence, spend a ridiculous amount of time and money pursuing this and then get ready for a possible probable appeal in a federal court, with the entire world watching.
That’s just good business there, right?
Without a confession or video evidence of Brady sticking a needle into a football during a game, we’re really left to speculation here, albeit with some tasty little morsels with which to form our opinions. Is Brady guilty? Probably. And, I’d say after the revelation about his phone-dump, even more probably.
Really, in the court of public opinion, that’s what matters, right? O.J. Simpson got off on murder charges, but what’s the perception? To many, Simpson will always be a double-murderer, court findings be damned. And, to many, Brady and the Patriots will be cheaters, no matter how this plays out in court.
Personally, I’ve always liked Brady. I think he’s smart, talented, dedicated to his job and living “the dream” — not out of entitlement, but because he fights and grinds every single day. He was drafted in the sixth round out of Michigan, a slot that certainly sees more players cut from their teams than reach Hall of Fame status, but he never lost faith in himself or his abilities.
Sure, I’m a Ravens fan, and I do love when my team beats Brady (not that it happens nearly often enough). But part of that fun is the acknowledgement that he doesn’t quit, and that he gave you his best. Does this series of events damage his legacy? Nope. He’s still a legend. But it does hurt his reputation. Badly.
‘Can you hear me now?’ Brady in some
Tommy, Tommy, Tommy.