Search This Blog

Monday, May 23, 2016

Strange Bedfellows

Hate is a strong word, in its pure, original form. However, Americans throw the word around in casual conversation, usually having a true meaning of “strong dislike”, “slight dislike”, or a meaning produced by the use of that word in jest. I do not genuinely hate anyone that immediately comes to mind. In the sports fanhood context, I hate Tom Brady and the Bill Belichick era New England Patriots.

If you know me personally or read this blog regularly before its recently discontinued hiatus, this is no secret. They’re arrogant. They’re entitled. They are not likable. And the bastards won’t go away like cockroaches and toilets after a nuclear bomb; they keep on winning.

Over the years I have found myself in the ironic and reluctant position of either defending or mitigating the criticism of Tom Terrific, The Hoodie, and the Minutemen amidst their many controversies. I thought the Tuck Rule was a stupid rule, but it was a rule and was applied to its letter in the infamous Tuck Rule Game that launched Brady’s stardom and the modern Patriots dynasty. I thought Spygate was unethical, but I don’t think it warranted any punishment until the league asked the team to discontinue its sideline filming practices. There is no evidence (not even circumstantial evidence) to show that the Patriots filmed the St. Louis Rams’ walk-through before Super Bowl XXXVI, yet detractors of the Patriots organization often freely toss the allegation around a though it were fact.


I think that the Patriots organization and Tom Brady are guilty as sin in the Deflategate controversy in which Patriots footballs used during the first half of the 2014 AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts in January of 2015 were allegedly deflated below league specifications after the game officials inspected the balls. I also think the impact on the lopsided Patriots victory was between “zero” and “negligible”. More importantly, I think that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell overreached in his punishment of Brady and his team. As reported my multiple news outlets, the penalty on the books in the NFL at that time for equipment tampering is a fine up to $25,000. The Patriots were exponentially fined beyond that threshold, were penalized draft picks, and Brady was suspended for four games at the beginning of the 2015 NFL season.

Of course, the long arm of the real law, not that of Sheriff Goodell, reached out and slapped the NFL, enjoining Brady’s suspension. The court opined that Goodell overreached in his authority, notwithstanding the collective bargaining agreement in place between the league and its players, Brady played the entire 2015 season without interruption. An appellate court recently ruled that the lower erred in its ruling and reinstated Brady’s four game suspension, effective at the start of the 2016 NFL regular season.


If Goodell is the Sheriff in this western style legal drama, then NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith is Black Bart. And he is coming for the sheriff. This morning on ESPN’s SportsCenter, Smith described the intent of the Players Association to take legal action to, once again, invalidate Brady’s suspension and possibly put some handcuffs on the sheriff in the long run. Smith described his disdain for the far reaching authority of Goodell in player discipline issues. With the existing collective bargaining agreement in place until 2021, Smith acknowledged the challenges in curtailing Goodell’s authority. However, the appeals to public opinion and use of the court system are within Smith’s wheelhouse and have proven effective in the past.

We need a new sheriff in town. 3

In this chapter of NFL drama, I am (not so) reluctantly on the side of one of my least favorite players in NFL history. This case is much bigger than Tom Brady or the Patriots and, to a degree, it is bigger than football. In so many words, this is about The Man putting his boot on the throat of the little guy. As rich and famous as Brady is, he is just an employee in and being used as a pawn by the National Football League.

Goodell’s arbitrary exercise of power has become increasingly egregious and grown exponentially during the past several years. What was once an effort to maintain the public image of the league through player and organizational discipline has mushroomed into an untargeted dispersal of power to send a message from one man, the Commissioner, to the people under his authority. It is to the long term detriment, not benefit of the game of football at the professional level.  

"His balls"...what a dick. 4
1) Image with

No comments:

Post a Comment