Tom Brady, the quarterback, for the New England Patriots, is fighting the four-game suspension, he was given by the NFL this week for his part in Deflategate. The NFL Players Association has already filed an appeal on Thursday, May 14. The appeal says that a neutral party should hear the arguments of the case.
However, the NFL has a history of making inconsistent and dogmatic decisions concerning disciplinary actions, which is why the appeal requests a neutral party. The league believes the disciplinary action is fair.
The New England Patriots has been fined $1 million as a team. The team also has to give up their first-round draft pick in the 2016 NFL Draft,as well as, their fourth-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft due to their part in Deflategate.
No one was surprised by the appeal, as Don Yee, Brady’s agent, had already stated Monday, when Brady was suspended without pay for four games, that he would file the appeal. This came after an investigation had discovered that the New England Patriots had used deflated footballs to gain an advantage in last season’s AFC Championship game.
Yee says that the disciplinary action handed down to Brady is not legitimate and it is ridiculous. He believes that the outcome is not fair and had been predetermined. He does not believe that there was a real investigation, or any evidence that Brady told anyone to inflate the footballs at a pressure that was below regulation requirements.
However, according to a report by Ted Wells, the attorney the league hired to do the investigating, it was discovered, that at the very least, he had general knowledge that the balls had been deflated. The report actually accuses John Jastremski, an equipment assistant, and Jim McNally, the one who brought the balls from the locker room to the field, as the ones who actually tampered with the balls.
When interviewed, Brady said he did not know anything about the ball deflation, or under inflation. At a public event, he announced that the New England Patriots have earned everything in their Super Bowl-winning season.
According to Forbes, the actual basis for the disciplinary action, was not just for deflating the footballs, it was about the NFL equivalent to the obstruction of justice. It was also about the NFL business, and the integrity of the game. Therefore, the NFL’s discretion can be broadly interpreted.
It is doubtful that Brady will win his appeal, as the NFL Commissioner has a wide judgement call to protect the integrity of the game. Ultimately, the integrity of the game is all that matters to the NFL, according to Forbes.
The decision is not about equality among different NFL disciplinary actions, but if the Commissioner had the authority, and if the decision was erratic. The authority is firmly given in the constitution and bylaws, and the Commissioner had the authority to reasonably rely on experts to make his case.
Some things the New England Patriots and the NFLPA have done on May 14 that will make sure the Deflategate issue is in grand focus for the fans and the league for a while. The appeal that was filed on behalf of Brady, after an investigation determined that he played a role in the deflated footballs used in the Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts. Also, a few hours prior to that, the New England Patriots gave a point-by-point rebuttal to the NFL’s discoveries.
These things raise some questions about the investigation, the reaction of the team and the possible litigation. Also Brady wants to preserve his own legacy. Will he win the sentence reduction he is looking tor? No, says ESPN. The investigation was clear. There had been text messages between himself and two staffers, the Patriots’ footballs went missing just before kickoff, and their has been a history of other incidents that have involved Brady. Also he tried to stonewall the NFL investigation. All this can only lead to one conclusion, that Brady was obviously involved somehow, to gain a competitive edge, according to ESPN’s Lester Munson.
By Jeanette Smith
CNN: ‘Deflategate’: Tom Brady Appeals Suspension
Forbes: Tom Brady Will Not Ultimately Win on Appeal
ESPN: Lester Munson: Tom Brady, NFLPA Cannot Win Appeal Filed Against Deflategate
Photo courtesy of Keith Allison’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License