Tom Brady is a great quarterback, but far less great at telling the truth.
That was my opinion after watching Brady in January, trying to explain that he played no part in “Deflategate”. That remains my opinion now, after Brady’s four-game suspension by the NFL.
According to NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent, Brady didn’t cooperate fully with the Wells investigation, refusing to hand over pertinent texts and phone records. I thought Brady was arrogant and flippant in January when it was first suggested that footballs in the AFC Championship game might have been underinflated.
If anything is unfair about the NFL’s punishment, I think it’s the loss of draft picks, and the $1 million fine. If Brady and the two equipment managers were acting alone, why should the entire Patriots organization be punished so severely? I don’t think the Patriots’ involvement in Spygate in 2007 should have weighed into this punishment. Apparently, the NFL saw things differently.
I’ve seen comparisons being made on social media between Brady’s suspension and Ray Rice’s suspension, asking how could Brady get four games, when Rice initially only got two games? I think the NFL got Rice’s suspension terribly wrong the first time. Does that mean the NFL should continue getting suspensions wrong?
I think Brady deserved to be suspended. Two games would have been fine. But a four-game suspension isn’t crazy, not considering how Brady handled this, and that he has the right to appeal.
If Brady had nothing to hide, he should have been more forthcoming and defended his integrity more vigorously. If guilty, Brady should have admitted his mistake, not denied it.
This isn’t about Brady getting a significant edge on the field. Brady can win football games with underinflated footballs, overinflated footballs, or anything in between. This is about Brady being accused of breaking the rules in blatant fashion, then trying to cover it up.
Call me naive, but I don’t think it’s common for teams to tamper with footballs after the league has inspected them in the hours leading up to kickoff. That’s a premeditated act to circumvent the rules. Plain and simple, that’s cheating.
There is no question this tarnishes Brady’s legacy. You’ll hear about Brady’s accomplishments 50 years from now, but you’ll also hear people bring up “Deflategate”, especially Brady haters and Patriots haters.
If Brady is being slammed for something he didn’t do, he needs to say a lot more. Maybe now is the time to make those phone records and texts available. Brady has already been embarrassed. If Brady is really innocent, he should attack the NFL and the Wells report as aggressively as he went after the Ravens’ secondary during the playoffs.
No way the NFL hierarchy enjoys suspending Tom Brady. But he didn’t leave much choice. On the field, Brady has made a convincing case as an all-time great. But in “Deflategate”, he fell woefully short of convincing the NFL that he was innocent.