Tom Brady has been suspended from the NFL, but not by the league itself.
The New England Patriots quarterback will sit out the first four games of the 2016 National Football League regular season, according to the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals. It overturned a lower court’s decision that felt Brady didn’t do anything that warranted a suspension. However, an appeal filed by the NFL’s lawyers helped to reverse that decision.
“We hold that the Commissioner properly exercised his broad discretion under the collective bargaining agreement and that his procedural rulings were properly grounded in that agreement and did not deprive Brady of fundamental fairness,” the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday in a 2-1 decision in New York.”
This stems from the “Deflategate” investigation when the Indianapolis Colts accused the Patriots of using “under-inflated” footballs in the 2015 AFC Championship Game. Independent investigator Ted Wells then found that it was “more than probable” that Brady was involved in the deflation of footballs. Following the Wells report, two Patriots equipment management employees were found guilty, suspended and, ultimately, reinstated to the league.
Keep in mind, this appeals court decision is not about whether Brady “under-inflated” footballs or knew about the actions. This comes down to whether rules were followed in Wells’s investigation and that commissioner Roger Goodell was “fair” to Brady (because that’s what matters these days).
The “Deflategate” saga first surfaced in January 2015. The media, and football fans were beside themselves because they talked about this ad nauseum for weeks and weeks. I’m not comparing the two in the gravity of seriousness when it comes to life problems, but the “Deflategate” scandal feels a lot like the Malaysian Airlines flight that was not found for so many months. The media was bludgeoning us to no end. Oh, and to add insult to injury, even the Patriots fans feel like they’re suffering from micro-aggressions.
When did it become the job of the federal government to get involved in a company’s need to suspend an employee? (Laugh all you want, but it’s true.) I don’t even think the NFL and its Players Association should have their own legal counsel duke it out in a court of law over the suspension of ONE of its players. There shouldn’t be a regular court of law worrying about this case, let alone a judge even bothering considering it.
The Patriots accepted their punishment by forking over money and draft picks. What we’re talking about here is a lower court decided in favor of the NFLPA. The appeal filed on behalf of the NFL won in the appeals court. Now, granted it’s a long shot, but do we really need to worry about the “Deflategate” scandal at the Supreme Court of the United States? It’s an absolute waste of taxpayer money. Also, while I have utmost respect for those who study the law for most of their entire lives, this should be a slam-dunk case where the SCOTUS rules in favor of Brady and the NFLPA.
This is one player we’re referencing. This is one out of nearly 1,700 in the entire league. Granted, he’s one of the elite players, but one nonetheless. And, to that point, why is the NFL so keen on wanting to sit down one of their biggest draws so early in the season. The league thrives on ratings and eyes on the screen.
You’re telling me the league does not want Tom Brady on the field every single game of the season? You’re telling me that they want to save face and make sure they don’t look like huge pushovers? You’re telling me they would love to stick it to the organization that’s already been caught once? Give me a break.
Lay off the booze, man!! Sunday Night Football on NBC has such a great audience every single week, but losing Brady to open the season will make fans suffer. Carson Palmer and the Cardinals v. Jimmy Garoppolo and the Patriots is as exciting as Sierra Mist v. New Coke. Change the recipe ever so slightly and you’ve got a totally different final product.
The league is owned by all 32 respective team owners. League commissioner Roger Goodell is the puppet to the master that is the owners. How is it that the owners would not want to put more fans in the seats with Tom Brady on the field? Yes, the Patriots were caught once. They served their punishment. They’ve still been dominant and competing in the playoffs every single year since Spygate.
The most ironic part of how all of this has played out is that Goodell has complete dominion over Brady like a voodoo doll. There’s no sugar-coating how much liberty the commissioner has in expressing his power over anyone and everyone, including his league’s own poster child.
With as much vitriol and acrimony toward the Patriots organization there is, the fact that the league wants to suspend Brady only motivates him more upon his return. This is exactly what fans want in sports: predictability. You can’t look me straight in the eye and tell me that Brady won’t come back with a vengeance and play at a level much like he did in 2007. That was the year they were chasing perfection and lost by a helmet in Super Bowl XLII to the New York Giants.
I find it almost genius-like in Tom Brady restructuring his contract to amend what he’ll be earning in 2016. Brady originally was going to be receiving $9 million from the NFL in 2016. A four-game suspension would’ve only yielded him slightly less than $6.9 million for the year. Under his new deal, Brady will make a base salary of $1 million. He only loses $250,000 with the suspension. He also received a $28 million signing bonus after the restructured deal.
That’s the genius not only on he and his agent’s part, but the Patriots are smart as well to not have so much money counted against them regarding the salary cap. Granted, Brady has re-worked his contracts to help his team hire more talented players and pay them respective to how much they can contribute to the team. That’s one of the beautiful talents the organization possesses.
I’ll keep my tinfoil hat off for the time being, but it just doesn’t seem like a coincidence that this contract happened the way it did and when it did.
Is it me, or is the NFL is becoming a more like the World Wrestling Entertainment giant? It seems that the NFL, as of late, borders on ridiculous and entertaining but yet little to no sense of reality. I really hope the league understands they truly have bigger fish to fry rather than going after petty accusations (whether true or not). They need to start figuring out how to better serve their current and former players dealing with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
All in all, the courts need to dismiss these decisions, Brady should decide whether or not to serve the suspension, and we need to move on with our lives. The idiocy being displayed by the league’s office is damn near reprehensible, but I’ll speak with my wallet in the end.