New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady is still maintaining his innocence after the NFL decided to uphold his four-game suspension for his role in “Deflategate.”
For those who have been living under a rock the past six and a half months, Brady and the Patriots were accused of using under-inflated footballs to gain a competitive advantage in January’s AFC championship victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
Brady’s suspension would have him out until Oct. 18 which is – ironically— when the Patriots travel to Indy to face the Colts.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Tuesday that he plans to stand by the discipline he handed out in May after the league found it “more probable than not” Brady was at least somewhat aware of the inappropriate activities of two Patriots ball boys that led to balls being deflated below permissible levels.
In a 20-page letter explaining his decision to uphold the suspension, Goodell cited Brady’s admission that he had his cell phone— which likely held the alleged text messages between Brady and the Patriot ball boys who carried out the task of deflating the footballs—destroyed before a meeting with NFL-hired investigators as a key piece of new and critical evidence.
While the four-time Super Bowl champion claims he always has his assistant destroy his cell phones for privacy reasons, it definitely seems like an oddly-convenient time to have this done, regardless of how bad Brady may have wanted that new iPhone 6. (Who didn’t, right?)
Goodell wrote in the letter that the timing of the intentional destruction of the phone— which Brady’s lawyers said was on or about March 6, the day Brady met with the investigators hired by the NFL — “is very troubling.”
Brady has already stated he plans to take the NFL’s decision to federal court in hopes of clearing the suspension and ultimately his name.
However, many, such as myself, would prefer to see Brady just take the slap-on-the-wrist suspension and begin moving past this incident.
Even if Brady is able to have the suspension overturned due to some legal technicality, I seriously doubt the majority of football fans will perceive him to be innocent.
The funny thing in all of this is that the Patriots’ organization did not seem to have a problem with the monetary fine and the loss of draft picks that was issued to the team due to its involvement in “Deflatgate.”
To me, it seems as if Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft thought he had made a bargain of some kind: silently accept the league’s penalties of a $1 million fine (which is nothing to Kraft), lose a couple future draft picks and then Brady is off the hook, ultimately setting up the team for another successful year and Super Bowl run.
That just wasn’t the case. Either Goodell finally decided to stick by his guns or, perhaps, he felt the heat from the other NFL owners who approached him last week to push for Brady’s suspension to be upheld.
Nevertheless, all we can do now is watch as this situation is drug out even longer through the legal system, meaning there is a chance Brady may actually be behind-center on opening day despite the overwhelming evidence that he did, in fact, cheat.
Malcolm Walton can be contacted at [email protected]