A Fair Analysis of Tom Brady's Punishment
The Crime: The Root of the Circus
The NFL alleges that the Patriots played with under-inflated footballs during the AFC Championship game on January 18th against the Colts. As of today, we are aware that Tom Brady asked to have the balls inflated to the "lower-end of the PSI range" via communications with the referees and the ball boys. They are still within the NFL's regulated range if the ball boys and referees followed his request. There is no direct, implicit proof that Tom Brady ever requested the balls to be inflated to BELOW the regulated 12.5 PSI.
At half time during the AFC game, the NFL took the balls, measured the PSI and found two balls that were below 12.5, the lowest regulated PSI. If you were in Foxboro that day, you would know that it was 40 degrees with pounding raing and wind. Anyone that has taken 5th grade science would know that balloons, balls, or anything filled with air in a closed room would lose pressure when taken out into those elements for at least 45 minutes. Professor Pritchard, a physics professor from MIT, proved that the PSI would have decreased from 1-2 PSI points in those elements. This is the only science or factual information we have regarding what happened with footballs. People can conjecture that a ball boy did something or, as the NFL did, that Tom Brady told the ball boy to deflate the balls. There is no video surveillance, emails or text messages to prove this. Period. We cannot assume or read into things. That is not how an integral investigation works. So, as of today, we have no undeniable proof of any wrong doing ever occuring.
Football PSI Measuring
Most of the country hates the New England Patriots. They are the New York Yankees of football. They have been on a winning streak for the better part of 15 years. It is tiresome for people, and other NFL teams, to watch them win over and over again. No NFL franchise has been this successful for this long of a period. They must be cheating, right? They had the spygate scandal, then the Aaron Hernandez thing.. How can anyone find Bill Belichick warm and endearing? "They're a dirty team. So they must have done something wrong here!" says a good majority of America.
In this case, we have now been presented with the smoking gun of the desroyed cell phone. When this was released yesterday, it did stink. Why would Tom Brady destroy his cell phone on the day he was to speak to Mr. Wells? It doesn't make sense. "Another dirty trick by those darn Patriots!" the nay-sayers respond with. Perhaps.. Until we look at a couple of things. First and foremost, Tom Brady is not required by law to turn over anything to the NFL. He is required to take the punishment that Roger Godell has handed down per his contract, but he is not required to turn over ANY of his personal information. The NFL is not a court of law. Any good lawyer would immediately tell Brady not to turn over the phone.
Secondly, Tom Brady released a statement this morning stating he had switched from a Samsung phone to an iPhone and the new iPhone had been delivered that day. As his lawyers rightly advised, he didn't have to turn over his phone. So why not switch? Also, any person, particularly any celebrity, should destroy their phone when they get rid of it. Otherwise your personal information is in the SIM card for the world to access. The anti-Brady camp has argued, "But the timing? And he has another phone he had before the destroyed one that he still had at the June appeal hearing. What about that?" My husband has two smartphones. He is not a celebrity. He has an older phone and a newer phone. One is for work, one is for personal use. If Brady does the same thing, we don't know if the phone destroyed was personal or work. And if he was switching brands, and his lawyers advised him not to turn his phone over anyway, why did it matter? When it bacame a matter of discipline, with the 4 game suspension being harsh due to his "lack of cooperation", Brady brought all of his texts and emails to the appeal hearing, and tried to get the information from the destroyed phone. His cell phone provider submitted a letter stating this was not possible. Some tech guy called a local radio station yesterday and stated the reasons why certain smartphones do not have retrievable data. I'm not going to pretend to be a scientist or an expert on cell phones, but it is just more plausible evidence that Tom Brady received a biased punishment for an unprovable violation of players rules.
Tom Brady on Way into Appeal Hearing
Roger Godell has created a circus of America's favorite game. His punihsments have been all over the map on personal and game issues. The league owners and public opinion view him as spineless. Particularly when it comes to the New England Patriots, as most see his punishment for spygate as weak and didn't like seeing him spend the AFC Championship at the Kraft family home. These are fair estimations... Godell is using this opportunity to regain his own standing as a leader and make more money for the league (notice the timing of the Superbowl and the start of trainging camp). He is determined to make the Patriots and Tom Brady an example to his own end. People dislike Roger as much as they dislike Tom.
The NFL rule book states that the fine for violating the PSI rate of 12.5-16.5 is a team fine of $25,000 per ball. Reports have stated the Patriots have had anywhere from 1 to 11 balls in violation. Let's go back to the physics law for a moment. Looking at the chart from the Wells' report, and taking into consideration the science, none of the balls were under-inflated. Yet for arguments sake, lets say they all were. That's 11 balls at $25,000 a piece. That's a team fine of $275,000 - Not $1 million. It's certainly doesn't fit then to go out of the rulebook guidelines and punish a player with a 4 game suspension!
Those homers from New England who compare this to Ray Lewis and the like cannot. Those were personal issues, not game violations. They aren't in the same spectrum. However, Tom Brady and the Patriots DO have an argument for defamation of character. Roger Godell is setting an unprecedented punishment against one of his best players to save his own behind. This is where Tom Brady will actually have a case in federal court.
Wells' Report PSI Chart from Halftime
Tom Brady and the Patriots have been substantially punished for an unprovable violation of game rules. I have tried my best to not sound like a homer. I want to look at the facts and make an educated opinion on the matter. People from outside New England should put their hate for Brady and the Pats aside and do the same as well. Remove the smoke and mirrors of the cell phones and the "uncooperative" nature of Brady and look at the facts. Firstly, there is no direct proof of any violation on behalf of Tom Brady or the New England Patriots. Therefore there is nothing to punish.
If you believe that there was "more likely than not" or "probable knowledge" on behalf of the Patriots and/ or Tom Brady, the punishment still does not fit the violation. This is where Tom Brady has a case in federal court. There is no direct proof. Roger Godell has gone so far that Brady could also file a defamation of character suit at this point.
At the end of the day Tom Brady's character will never be regained in the eyes of the general public, unless some miraculous turn of events happen. As a Patriots fan for the last 30 some-odd years, I just hope this lawsuit doesn't effect the season. I still love tha game, and my New England Patriots, and want to see them playing football, not juggling this circus. We shall now wait and see what the courts have in store.