Nothing, it appears, can save Brady from severe punishment


 (Photo courtesy of the New England Patriots)

By Clark Judge

Talk of Fame Network

Once upon a time I thought the NFL might hesitate to hammer quarterback Tom Brady because he’s one of the faces of the league. Now, I’m starting to wonder … and I wonder if they hammer him precisely because he’s one of the faces of the league.

The message would be loud and clear: Nobody’s above the law. Not even a four-time Super Bowl winner.

Look, it seems pretty clear by now that Brady will be suspended – if not for his alleged role in deflating footballs in the 2014 AFC championship game, then for not cooperating with the NFL in its investigation. And I get that. At this point, a cover-up – or alleged cover-up – is as bad as the crime. I mean, if Tom Brady had nothing to hide, then why hide it?

Yet he did.

But there’s something else going on here, and it’s this: Tom Brady doesn’t get more latitude than, say, the guy punished for smoking weed just because he’s Tom Brady … or because he’s white … or because he has Hollywood good looks … or because he’s rich and famous … or because he’s married to the world’s foremost model … or because he’s the star quarterback of the defending Super Bowl champions.

In fact, he might get less.

And here’s why: There has always been an expectation that, when investigator Ted Wells released his report, the league office might err on the side of leniency because of its cozy relationship with Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft. There was also the expectation the league office might go easy on Brady, too, because he’s not only one of the game’s great quarterbacks but the guy who just starred in one of the most memorable Super Bowls ever and who, at least until now, represented what’s good about the shield the commissioner Roger Goodell seeks to protect.

But that’s where the hammer drops.

The NFL must demonstrate equanimity here to prove that there is nothing about Tom Brady – including his All-American image – that can or should protect him from severe punishment. First, the Wells Report says he probably was involved in the deflation of footballs used in the January playoff defeat of Indianapolis, and that’s tampering with the integrity of the game. Second, he failed to cooperate with investigators, failing to turn over emails, texts or electronic communications requested by them – actions that constitute conduct detrimental under NFL guidelines.

Make no mistake, people are following this decision closely to see if there’s a hint of favoritism. In fact, for weeks cynics contended that if this were anyone else but Tom Brady, he’d be suspended — but that Brady will skate because … well, because he’s Tom Brady.

But they’re wrong. It’s precisely because he is Tom Brady that Goodell and the NFL will make certain to get this right – demonstrating to detractors, cynics and skeptics that one of the most decorated quarterbacks in league history is held to the same standard as others when it comes to violating NFL rules.

Frankly, the situation is not all that dissimilar to an incident that occurred seven years ago when then-New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg waged a war on illegal guns – pushing for a full prosecution of a state law that requires a mandatory prison sentence for anyone carrying a loaded handgun.

Then, lo and behold, that November Giants’ wide receiver Plaxico Burress accidentally discharged a loaded weapon at a night club, shooting himself in the leg, and Bloomberg had his chance to make an example of a public figure.

“I think it would be an outrage,” Bloomberg said then, “if we didn’t prosecute, to the fullest extent of the law, particularly people who live in the public domain – make their living because of their visibility. They’re the role models for our kids.”

Burress not only was prosecuted; he accepted a plea deal that sentenced him to two years in prison.

OK, so discharging a handgun in a crowded nightclub and deflating footballs aren’t comparable. But the response might be. If Goodell is to make the point that he will prosecute fully anyone tampering with the integrity of the game … if he wants to demonstrate to players that cooperation with league investigations is not only recommended but required of all NFL employees … then what better way to prove it than by punishing someone who practically dares the league to act on both counts?

Tom Brady, get ready to sit down.

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  1. May 9, 2015

    It seem to me that because of he is represented by the union it’s going to be harder to slam him for lack of cooperation when one compares it to Sean Payton or a GM. Does sound like this case ends up in federal court with the player’s association using this as a way to shave away some of Goddell’s power.

    • May 9, 2015

      It’s just another black eye for a league that wants them to go away. In and of itself this is no big deal, but he has been linked to breaking a rule and he did fail to cooperate. As previous reader wrote, he will survive and he will be celebrated in years to come. But his image has been damaged.

  2. May 9, 2015

    Regarding Tom Brady’s pecadillo (deflating footballs) it obviously is not as dark nor as sinful an act as beating your wife or girlfriend. However, the severity of Brady’s deceitfulness (claiming innocence and his unwillingness to cooperate during the investigation) about such a minor goes to the heart of the issue.

    That was Nixon’s major sin; not committing Watergate, but it’s cover-up. That was Bill Clinton’s sin; not the lascivious act with Monica Lewinsky, but the cover-up. The same thing with Alex Rodriguez taking PEDS; it’s the cover-up. Therefore, my message to Tom is to bow down admit his guilt and beg for forgiveness. Remember, God can’t forgive sins if the sinner does not admit them. This edict has been with us since the beginning of time:

    Job 24:13,15,17 (NIV) “There are those who rebel against the light, who do not know its ways or stay in its paths… The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk; he thinks, ‘No eye will see me,’ and he keeps his face concealed… For all of them, deep darkness is their morning; they make friends with the terrors of darkness.”

    Isa 29:15-16 (NIV) Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their work in darkness and think, “Who sees us? Who will know?” You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!… Can the pot say of the potter, “He knows nothing?”

    Isa 28:15 (NIV) You boast, “… for we have made a lie our refuge, and falsehood our hiding place.”

    Ps 139:7,11-12 (NIV) Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me…” the night will shine like day….

    Jer 23:24 (NIV) “Can anyone hide in the secret places so that I cannot see him?” declares the Lord. “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord.

    Jer 16:17 (NIV) “My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from me, nor is their sin concealed from my eyes.”

    Light As Judgment

    The same light that makes plants grow hardens clay. The light is the same, but the response is completely different.

    John 3:19-21 (Phi) “This is the judgment: that light has entered the world, and men have preferred darkness to light because their deeds were evil. Everybody who does wrong hates the light and keeps away from it, for fear his deeds may be exposed. But everybody who is living by the truth will come to the light to make it plain that all he has done has been done through God.”

    Secrets Are Temporary, You Can Count On The Light

    Mat 10:26-27 (NIV) “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the housetops.”

    Mark 4:22 (Jer) “For there is nothing hidden but it must be disclosed, nothing kept secret except to be brought to light.”

    The Light Illuminates What?

    Ps 90:8 (NIV) You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.

    Job 12:22 (NIV) He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings deep shadows into the light.

    Job 28:11 (NIV) [God] … brings hidden things to light.

    Dan 2:22 (NIV) He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.

    1 Cor 4:5b (Phi) He will bring into the light of day all that at present is hidden in darkness, and he will expose the secret motives of men’s hearts.

  3. Rich Quodomine
    May 10, 2015

    Brady’s biggest crime is that of hubris. There’s precedent for “bringing the Goodell Hammer” from 50 years ago:

    Karras and Hornung. Hall of Fame caliber players. Clever, witty golden boys. Cream of the NFL. Suspended.

    Yes, I understand that gambling has different effects and potentially brings a seedy element into the game. Deflating the ball is not the same as gambling, point-shaving, or other in-game issues. The problem is the cover-up here. If Brady just said “yeah, me and all the other guys in football heat, scuff, scrape, deflate, inflate”, etc; he would have gotten a fine, and maybe the team loses a pick. Brady, like Karras and Hornung before him, doesn’t think he’ll get a punishment. Kraft is close with Goodell, and I don’t doubt the two have exchanged emails or texts. Goodell is in a tough position.

    As a Bills fan, it’s competitive advantage to see him suspended, but I want the Bills to beat Brady on the field, so I’m conflicted. Ultimately, the crime itself is negligible. Brady and the Pats would have beaten the Colts and the Seahawks, regardless of ball inflation. I don’t understand why he felt the need to do this. THat said, I am not suggesting that the NFL suspend him for a year. Probably 4 games. But history says there is precedent, even for “golden boys”.

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