DeflateGate Punishment Doesn't Fit the Crime

Well, it didn't take that long for the NFL to bring their multi-billion-dollar hammer down on New England and quarterback Tom Brady, suspending him for four games to start the season.

But it doesn't stop there. They lose a first-round draft pick next year and a fourth-round pick in 2017. Oh - and there's also the small matter of the million dollar fine, the largest in NFL history, that the Patriots have to fork over.

First, let me say I think the best thing that could come of this mess is for Brady's suspension be eliminated completely or at MOST, reduced from four games to one. The fine should be reduced to $20,000 and NO draft picks should be taken away. 

The entire affair has been handled poorly by everybody BUT Tom Brady, and he's being the one most punished for it. The Yakking Heads on TV seems to be more or less in agreement with the punishment, which tells me it's completely off-base.

I think most of my readers know I'm no fan of Brady's and in fact I hate him more than the other 30 starting QBs (Cam Newton excepted of course!) in the NFL combined. I hate Brady more than the worst parts of Drew Brees and Meg Ryan combined. I hate Tom Brady because he's got a hotter wife than I could ever dream of dating, let alone marrying. Then again, I don't care for the high-maintenance type, but that's another story.

The point is, what I'm saying is kinda hard for me to even fathom. I guess it's my sense of the "fair play" they say was shattered by "Brady's actions."

Hm. Really, they're SO sure, or do they think it is simply "more probable than not?"

Let's put this in perspective. When the San Diego Chargers got caught red-handed using towels with a form of "stickum" on them to rub down game balls with, and did not immediately turn over all evidence when questioned about it, what was the ultimate penalty? 

A $20,000 fine. That's it.

Even the Carolina Panthers are guilty of "doctoring" footballs. Many don't know this, but up in Minnesota last year, where they're playing outdoors while the new stadium gets built, BOTH teams were "caught" heating footballs on the sidelines. While this might be considered an "honest mistake," and indeed no action was taken against either team by the NFL, they still broke the rules.

What this tells me is that Brady's punishment isn't about breaking rules. It's about not "cooperating" with the investigation. I'm sorry, but if the police came to me and wanted to confiscate my entire cell phone and read my private conversations because they THINK I MIGHT have had something to do with deflating my car's tires so I MIGHT be able to drive 5 miles over the speed limit on a wet road, I don't think I'd comply, either. The punishment for actually being found guilty wouldn't be that the city fines my household a million dollars, forces me to give up my first and fourth-born cats (for the record, I only have 2...3 if you count the one that lives at my Mother's house), and suspend my driver's license for a month, would it?

That's about the best analogy of "lawbreaking" I can think of. In the world of the NFL, a football deflated roughly 10% below the NFL's minimum by rule, I don't think that being "more probable than not" guilty of hinting to the stadium staff about deflating the ball or whatever really happened. 

I just figured the equipment people, in their eagerness to make Mr. Brady happy, could have "deflated" the footballs a bit beyond the rules while Brady suspected as much, but didn't want to ask because he's smart enough not to ask a question for which he doesn't want to know the real answer.

Don't ask, don't tell. 

Brady could have known everything all along, every step of the way. That's just it - we don't know, and Brady's being punished for what they think he may have done. Not what he DID. What they THINK he did. 

Oh, that's reassuring. If you're thought to be doing something wrong, you're even MORE guilty than those who are 100% proven guilty? 

Well, I think Roger Goodell is an overpaid blowhard worthless empty politically-correct suit. Can I get me about 5 million now?

Someone please tell me how taking one or two psi worth of pressure out of a football is somehow far, far, FAR worse than rubbing them down with a tacky substance to aid the quarterback's grip? Is it really 40 times worse, as the difference in fines between the Chargers and Patriots suggest it is?

And the Chargers didn't lose anyone to suspension nor a draft pick, let alone multiple ones.

"Spygate" obviously had something to do with the penalty here, and there's another place where the NFL screwed up basic logic:

You see, the only thing similar between SpyGate and DeflateGate is that they both involve the same regime of the same team. SpyGate was Bill Belichick's doing with the possible tacit agreement of owner Robert Kraft. Brady had absolutely zero to do with that himself.

The media is all over the place falling all over each other dropping "The Ideal Gas Law" as a reference, as if the airheads have any clue at all what it involves or what its limitations are. For example:

The "Ideal Gas Law" doesn't take into account the electric charges of the molecules involved. The air in the footballs is going to have water vapor as well. Anyone not sleeping through high school chemistry class knows that water is a "polar" molecule. Throw in an unknown amount of static electricity from the fact a football, by its very nature, gets knocked around in the cold and, well, the "Ideal Gas Law" doesn't look quite so "Ideal" anymore. So forget anything you hear about that - it's just noise thrown in to make those tossing around "more probable than not" accusations seem smart when it actually (to me, anyway) makes them sound like they're grasping for straws.

Kinda reminds me of those "Global Warming Alarmists" who think doubling a trace gas like CO2 can somehow raise atmospheric temperatures by a planet-busting amount. I guess those same people think if you double another trace gas like Helium, everybody would be walking around talking in a falsetto. I actually have done a lot of my own research on the idea and it's actually pure bunk and easily dismissed, when you look at the science as opposed to the political pseudo-science, and that's what this whole "Ideal Gas Law" talk is - pure mumbo-jumbo made to sound as if there's a proven scientific link between Tom Brady and deflated footballs. It's a non-sequitur. As for the science behind any significant man-made Global Warming, I hope this is enough of a tease to have you go do your own fact-finding. However, I'd be careful of my sources and keep politics out.

I bring it up only because of the gas law referencing. They're twisting science to "prove" a conclusion at which they wish to arrive instead of using established legal procedures for investigation. The procedures are to protect the "innocent until proven guilty" idea, not the "innocent until we think you're guilty more than we think you're not" idea. That works for expedience in small claims court, but I don't think a small claims court has the power to levy million-dollar fines, either. A few grand? Yep. A few mil? HA!

DeflateGate, at the very worst possible point, has Tom Brady being "thought" to have had a hand in persuading stadium personnel into inflating footballs to only about 90% of the pressure they should have by NFL rules.

DeflateGate sure looks a lot more like the San Diego situation than it does the SpyGate one. Punishing someone solely on the basis of opinion ("more likely than not" IS a statement of opinion due simply to the uncertainty embedded in the statement itself) is a much more "slippery slope" than that the NFL is trying to put on this whole DeflateGate business, and the Yakking Heads on television are wrong in their framing of the debate on this.

Heath Miller of NFL Network, a former teammate of Brady's, made an excellent point. He basically said Brady is control freak, as all quarterbacks are to an extent when it comes to "how they like their football.' He said if Brady was immersed in this, ALL the balls would have been deflated the exact same amount...not "up 1.5" on this one or "down 0.6" on this one - they'd ALL have been inflated to exactly the same pressure, and that's one of the few things that actually makes logical sense out of this. If Brady were immersed in this as "is thought to be likelier than not," then deflating footballs by apparently random amounts would defeat the purpose of the act in the first place.

Brady was punished for everything BUT actually breaking any rule. The Wells report itself, once again, could only say he was "more likely than not" to be guilty of what everyone agrees in the grand scheme of things is a pretty minor rules infraction. He certainly wouldn't be convicted in a court of law with evidence so thin it's darned near invisible. Hearsay and conjecture is all they have.

Don't forget, the Wells Report exonerated the team and coach Belichick. So why is the TEAM being fined a million dollars and why is the TEAM losing draft picks? That doesn't even make sense! 

No, I personally don't like Brady, but fair is fair. I think the the overall punishment is all too obviously politically-driven and "populist" in nature; the Brady-haters are seeing their big chance to "gouge The Man," and certainly are doing so. Even Donald Trump chimed in, and actually made a great point, FOR ONCE. He said "If Hillary doesn't have to turn over her emails, why should Tom Brady?"

I'd say the email matter Hillary is involved with is a lot more serious than some deflated footballs - that much, I think anyone would agree with when you take away the guilt or innocence question entirely in her case.

Some say they think the NFL came down hard on Brady because he didn't cooperate with the investigation by turning his private matters over for the entire public's consumption. I'm sorry, Mr. LaDanian Tomlinson, but you don't know what the HELL you're talking about. Brady was under no legal obligation to fork over anything, and the 5th Amendment says you don't have to incriminate yourself. We'll likely never know if Brady had indeed "incriminated" himself in any emails, but he might have said in one "Honey, I'm racing home" - GUILTY, RECKLESS DRIVING. 

Players are suspended anymore on accusations now instead of actually being found guilty of something. The Greg Hardy case is a big example of that for Panthers' fans. Hardy even became a persona non grata in Charlotte as a result, when the most likely picture of that fateful evening was that Hardy was involved with a crazy woman out for a paycheck and 15 minutes of fame, although The Kraken himself didn't exactly show the best judgement on the planet. He was later exonerated by a jury trial, but the NFL did what the legal system didn't do - they muddied his name.

Hardy came into the NFL with "questionable" off-field behavior but up until that point in his pro career he had been fine. Just the same way, I think Brady is being punished for past transgressions, and ones that he's associated with only because he's on the same team as Belichick. Brady wasn't the videotaping mastermind behind those Jets practices for sure.

This entire matter stinks of "piling on," and that's a far worse rules infraction than taking a little air out of a football. Of course, everyone knows that was the difference in the Patriots' 38-point AFC Championship game blowout - right?

I don't think it's a coincidence Brady got a four-game suspension because the week he returns?

They play the Colts.

In trying to "prove" that nobody is above the rules in the NFL, and to "prove" they are even-handed no matter who you are, and that nobody is untouchable, they've actually proven AGAIN what I've been saying for over a year now - the NFL isn't interested in justice - they are interested most of all about their image - justice be damned completely!

I realize a lot of my fellow Brady-haters think I'm 100% wrong on this and that Brady should face a lifetime ban or something equally crazy. but I'm just trying to be open and blunt as usual. If the Chargers do essentially the same thing and get fined $20,000 while Brady and his team get Thor's hammer, mjolnir, leveled on them then where IS the justice? Where is that sense of fair play the NFL keeps talking about over this case? 

What has the NFL done to the "integrity of the game?

If justice is supposed to be blind, Commissioner Goodell, Troy Vincent, and league officials see so much better than Ted Williams ever did in his prime.

Few things irk me more than faux "ire" over what what is, in reality, a minor rules infraction. As more and more cases like this get politicized, I must confess I get a little less interested in the NFL each time....not because of player shenanigans because out of a couple of THOUSAND people anywhere, you're going to find a few bad ones. 

If Brady had taken a BB gun to one of the footballs, at this rate, he would get 10 years in the electric chair. Even though nothing is still PROVEN, the situation could still be fair if Brady's suspension is reduced to a single game and the fine to the innocent team be dropped to $20,000 - as in the case of the Chargers. The only reason I'd even go with any suspension for Brady at all is in recognizing the unique nature and structure of the NFL, and the fact that even the appearance of "cheating" needs to be dealt with swiftly. 

A one-game suspension would still make an example out of Tom while putting the brakes on anyone else thinking of doing something outside the rules, no matter how minor it is. In the essence of giving the NFL a little leeway, I would begrudgingly be okay with a single game suspension. I still wouldn't like it, but could see the reasoning. As the punishment stands across the board it's not only excessive but astoundingly so. Draft picks, seriously?

It's the fact that politics are taking over the process above anything....above common sense, above good judgement, and even above the law....gas laws trump legal rights. When people are punished for "being more likely than not to..." ANYTHING, it tells me the NFL isn't interested in substance but sizzle. The NFL could have gotten a court order to have Brady turn over his phone, but they didn't. Or if they couldn't, they shouldn't punish someone for not abiding by a non-existent court order.

For the Goodell years at least, the NFL isn't interested in justice, but public relations. The very acts that they have pulled in this case and others demonstrate it. The NFL itself thinks it is "above the law" as an entity.

And it completely stinks. 

Also consider is the fact that, apparently, a first-time offense for slightly deflated footballs is equal to multiple offenses versus the league's "performance enhancing drugs" policy. It is now officially worse to stick a needle into a football and let a little air bleed out than it is to stick a needle in your body and inject steroids.

This is how you make things look when you don't have the first clue as to what you're doing, or you let politics guide your actions instead of the rational, individual merits of each case considered in and of itself.

Goodell needs to go. NOW. NOW!!!!

Follow me on Twitter @Ken_Dye