A few years back the Boston Red Sox coined a phrase “Cowboy Up” as their rallying cry for the team. It is a take off the term “man up”. Now a decade later, in the same town, the prominent sports figure for Boston is failing to do the same and man up. Tom Brady was suspended this week by the NFL four games for his role in “Deflategate”. In addition the Patriots were fined one million dollars and lost two draft picks, including a first rounder. The NFL spent months investigating the situation which occured last postseason. They handed out the punishments and now the controversy should be over. But no. The sports world is running rampant with opinions on the subject, many trying to still defend Brady and the Patriots; and more stating the punishment is unjust. The story has even reached mainstream media and the social media of course has to have their opinion.
First let me say this in all honestly. I do not like the Patriots. Never have, never will. Sure it stems from them beating my team, the St. Louis Rams in the Super Bowl. But over the years I have seen how they run their team, and while the consistency the organization has had over the years is impressive; I still do not appreciate anything about the team. Whether it is Tom Brady’s overplayed good boy, scrub to star image, Bill Belicheck’s condescending way he talks to reporters, or Robert Kraft; which looks like they took the missing air from the footballs and put it in his ego; the Patriots are teh team everyone outside of Boston loves to hate. The Patriots feel that because of their success they are exempt from punishment or better than other teams. And it is this arrogance and line of thinking that played a role in their seveere punishment for Deflategate.
In regards to the punishment. There is no doubt in my mind that had the Patriots and Brady acknowledged their role in the deflation of the footballs the punishment would not have been so harsh. The NFL gave them a chance to do so. Instead Brady, Kraft, and others took the stand and denied any knowledge or participation. Instead they wanted us to believe that the weather affected the footballs (nevermind the fact it was only their footballs and not the Colts). They claimed that it was the equpiment staff that may have removed the air out of the footballs on their own. Yes, two lowly workers put their jobs on the line to mess with the footballs on their own, both disregarding the NFL and without checking with the team quarterback. The punishment has less to do with the actual deflation of the footballs and more to do with the lying and constant cheating the Patriots organization tries to get away with.
For those claiming the punishment is too much. You say four games is too much and he deserves only one or two games. Well this occurred during the playoffs, at least it came to light during the playoffs and I’m sure was done numerous times before, so let’s see would you have rather had him sit out those two games in the playoffs last year or four games next regular season? Yeah, I thought so; you would rather take the Super Bowl win.
And yes deflating the footballs IS cheating. It is in the rulebook. I am tired of hearing people, many athletes even, say it had no effect on the game. To this I ask, if it had no effect then why do it? Why would someone break the rules if they gained no advantage? And what really gets me mad is hearing these professional athletes try and compare this to any other penalty in game, like holding. Really? Well okay let’s go there, even as absured as that is. Guess what you get caught holding in the game, you are penalized!
What is sad is that I don’t think the professional athletes are the ones we should even be listening to, even if it is their livelihood and profession. We have seen in the past athletes will always look to find an edge in the game. Their ends always justify their means. And who is to say we wouldn’t do the same thing to get millions of dollars, but that means they aren’t seeing the big picutre. They are not more important than the game. The game was there before them and it will be there after them. Cheating is making a mockery of the rules and changing the playing field. If we were to take the athletes words as gold, then we may still be in the steriod era of baseball because as you remember, athletes in the 90’s claimed it had no effect on the game and said everyone was doing it.
Some have tried defending the Patriots actions with the old adage “if you aren’t cheating, you arent trying”. This saying has long been around, and when used is often thown out in jest. It was made more in talking about pushing the limits, which the Patriots have been known to do. But as the sports world has changed over the decades evolving from a game into a billion dollar business model, this saying has no weight. In business if you cheat like Enron, Martha Stewart, Bernie Madoff; you pay the price. As society changes so does the culture in sports. No longer are there Phil Niekro’s thowing spitballs in baseball or Chuck Cecil type safties head hunting in football. The drink a 12-pack of beer in the locker room lifestyle is gone from baseball and the focus on removing domestic violence has taken risen in all sports. Just because a saying was made decades ago or cheating was done by people in the Hall of Fame, does not mean it is right today.
Others want to claim that every team does it. Really? Because I don’t recall any other team being busted for this. And no it’s not a “everyone is out to get the Patriots” thing. In the NFL; maybe the fiercest and most competitive league, if a team can bust another team for cheating they will do it whether you are the Patriots or the Browns. Speaking of which where was the big uproar when Browns GM Ray Farmer was suspended four games for texting his sideline coaches during games? That’s right, it was the Browns so no one said anything but now that Brady and Patriots, arguably the faces of the NFL over the last decade, are in trouble some are tying to push the agenda that the punishment is harsh because it’s the high profile team. Wrong, it’s because of their continued lack of concern for rules and their lying during the investigation.
The investigation has come into question because it only deals with circumstantial evidence. Ok, that’s fine. But many cases, even murder cases, are based on circumstational evidence. But a point missed is this is not the court of law. This is a business organization who can deal with their employees how they wish. And for anyone who read the investigation report, there is no possible way they can not come away thinking Brady had involvement. Beween the texts referring to deflating the footballs, mentioning payments and memorobilia, and meetings and phone calls between Brady and the equipent workers just after the story broke. That is plenty of circumstantial evidence to condemn. Brady had the chance to prove the texts in question where taken out of context by turning over his phone records. Yes I know the whole privacy thing, but if you want to prove your innocence wouldn’t you do that by any means neccesary?
Speaking of innocence, which the Patriots claim to be in the whole processs. If they were innocent why did they suspend the equpiment workers without pay? Aren’t you admitting they did something wrong by suspending them. And that means it comes back to why would they change the football pressure? Circles back to Brady once again.
Was the actual deflation of the footballs such a big story? Probably not. It has some affect obviously but the Patriots were the better team against the Colts. But did the deflation of the footballs play a role in the Patriots win the previous week against the Ravens, throwing the ball 20 plus times in 8 degree wind chill weather; maybe. And that is why it is a big deal. We don’t know the full affect it had on games. It does call into question the Patriots wins. Because they more than likely are a great team. So why do these things that repeatedly call into question outcomes of games?
Tom Brady’s legacy will take a hit because of how he handled this situation, he still has yet to address the issues and instead has had his dad and agent defending him. Anytime in the future when the Patriots, Brady, and Belicheck are mentioned in regards to their dynasty, one of the first lines will be about Spygate or Deflategate. Cheating did not make them a great team, but if they are a great team, why cheat? It was due time that the Patriots pay for their actions over the years. And I am sitting back right now laughing at all of the crying that Patriots fans are doing and it is even better that it involves from your golden boy in the Ugg boots Tom Brady, who just won’t man up.