With running back Ezekiel Elliot in action for the Dallas Cowboys, it is another hit to Roger Goodell’s power in the National Football League.
After the 2014 AFC Championship Game, reports began to surface that there was a possibility that the New England Patriots used under inflated footballs during the first half of their 45-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. A media fire storm would swarm over the Patriots leading up to Super Bowl 49 with the main focus being on quarterback Tom Brady for his alleged role. But the Patriots are one of if not the best team in the National Football League when it comes to not allowing distractions to sidetrack them from their goal of winning. And the Patriots would use the allegations as added motivation when they defeated the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl 49 28-24 with Brady being named as the game’s MVP. That off-season would see the National Football League conduct an “investigation” of the Patriots and all that could be found was that there was a “possibility” that Brady knew of the footballs being under inflated. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would drop the hammer which saw the Patriots stripped of multiple draft picks in 2015 and Brady being suspended for the first four games of the season.
But with the help of the National Football League’s Players Association, Brady fought the league tooth and nail over his suspension. The matter would ultimately play out in Federal Court over the summer of 2015 with Brady being exonerated. However Goodell and the NFL would not accept the court’s ruling and last March they would appeal in order to have Brady’s suspension upheld.
Brady would sit out the first four games of this season as he was turned into a martyr over something that nobody really cared about. And for Goodell his once steady relationship with Patriots team owner Robert Kraft who some once deemed as “the assistant commissioner” was now strained at best.
But what was done by the National Football League to hamper the Patriots has only helped them. In four games without Brady, the Patriots went 3-1, and with him back in the lineup they would go 11-1. Overall Pats would go 14-2 in the regular season which paved the way for them to have home-field advantage in the AFC Playoffs.
And home-field advantage really benefited New England as in two playoff contests they outscored the Houston Texans and Pittsburgh Steelers 70-33 which has paved the way for them to appear in the Super Bowl for a record ninth time.
Goodell has gone out of his way to treat the Patriots as the black sheep of his beloved National Football League. Since Brady took the NFL to Federal Court, he doesn’t have the luxury of the same amount of roughing the passer calls that he received in year’s past, while Goodell has acted as if the Patriots organization doesn’t exist.
Goodell has avoided Gillette Stadium all season long like the plague to the point that he made consecutive trips during the postseason to the Georgia Dome in order to watch the Atlanta Falcons which is an oddity since commissioners tend to travel around and observe the entire league.
Under the surface Goodell may have not wanted to cause a distraction by avoiding Foxboro, but he won’t have a choice if the Patriots do what the odds makers in Las expect them to do which is to win the Super Bowl in a few days. Each year following the Super Bowl, the commissioner has handed the winning owner the Vince Lombardi Trophy. And in this era of entertainment, the trophy presentation has been made into a grand spectacle on a podium that includes the winning head coach and the Super Bowl MVP. However if the Patriots are successful against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl 51, it more than likely will be because of Brady which would mean that Goodell would have to come face-to-face with the owner, head coach, and quarterback whom he threw the book at.
But this isn’t to say that Patriots are faultless in everything which dates back to Spygate. This is simply an issue with Goodell and his inconsistency as a commissioner. When Goodell came down hard on the New Orleans Saints organization for Bountygate, the players that were implemented went the same route that Brady did which led to their suspensions being overturned, and the commissioner simply left the matter alone. However in the case of Deflategate, Goodell blitzed Brady at the request of some of the power brokers in the National Football League such as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in order to make an example out of him.
Kraft merely accepted the National Football League’s punishment towards his franchise due to the fact that his hand was forced by the other billionaires that own teams in the league. And just like Jones and the other NFL team owners are accustomed to getting their way, the same can be said for Kraft who gave a passionate speech this past Sunday when he accepted the Lamar S. Hunt trophy which acknowledges the AFC Champion. Kraft said “For a number of reasons, all of you in this stadium understand how big this win was.”
After everything that has gone down, the Patriots are going to have their fare share of detractors if people allow their thought process to be dictated by what the mass media says. However each time that the Patriots are put on front street, the production as a team only gets better. And just as the Patriots win in Super Bowl 49 over the Seahawks should have been the icing on the cake as far as doubting them, they could add an extra coat of frosting by winning another Lombardi Trophy, while also serving up a huge dosage of humble pie to Goodell.
So in Houston on February 5, there won’t be a hiding place for Goodell if the Patriots are able to win. And whereas the National Football League has been complaining about ratings being down for the entire season, everyone will be tuning in should New England win as Goodell would have no choice but to acknowledge one of the league’s best franchises.
It’s no secret that in order to own a National Football League franchise, a person must be of a very elitist group. And that group is “The Billionaire Boys Club”. The faces of the respective team owners might be different, but they are all basically cut from the same cloth as they are either self-made billionaires, or they inherited the team from their fathers when they passed away. And if you have a net worth that is more than or close to $1 billion, you have a very hard time taking no for an answer as you are accustomed to getting your way. These team owners have also gone out and found a man to do their dirty work in regards to operating their gold mine, and his name is Roger Goodell.
Since 2006, Goodell has been the commissioner of the National Football League and he has continued to build off of the success of his predecessors in Pete Rozelle and Paul Tagliabue who each took the league to new heights on their respective watches. But just like Rozzelle and Tagliabue were the right men for their respective eras, Goodell represents the new NFL team owner which is brash, cunning, and more than ever simply about the almighty dollar. Don’t get me wrong as the NFL has always been about making money, but there was a time when the team owners worked together for the betterment of the league and not their personal issues. However that time has gone.
Over the years there have been other football leagues that have pushed the National Football League for supremacy. From 1946-1949, the All-American Football Conference challenged the NFL with the league ultimately folding in 1949, but not before the big boy NFL took the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers away from the small league. One of the biggest competitors that the NFL faced was the American Football League. The AFL existed from 1960-1969 and they pushed the mighty NFL to the limit as both leagues would merge in 1970 with all ten AFL teams joining NFL to push the total to 26 teams. The World Football League was never able to get off of the ground as it fizzled after just one year and completely folded after just two years, while the United States Football League pushed the NFL in the mid-1980’s which helped to usher in free agency which changed the dynamics of how players are compensated. But now since the NFL is the only professional football show on the block, along with the fact the most of the current team owners have not had to deal with a work stoppage as the last one occurred in 1987, the arrogance from the group of billionaires is astronomical.
That arrogance has been on display by the likes of Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones who have both claimed that they don’t see the connection between head injuries and playing football. Head injuries have become a hot topic in the National Football League due to the fact that for years the league misdiagnosed concussions of some of its players, while there was also the possibility that they didn’t understand the long-term effects of head trauma from playing football which more than likely led to the suicides of former players such as Dave Duerson, Junior Seau, and Andre Waters. Numerous players have been left crippled as they left it all out there on the gridiron, and for some of them, they have nothing to show for it, while the NFL continues to prosper.
The recent years have seen the National Football League turn a blind eye to social issues such as domestic violence. On February 15, 2014, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was arrested on a assault charge along with his then fiancee Janay Parker. The incident took place at an Atlantic City casino where footage showed Rice and Parker entering an elevator while they were arguing. And when Rice and Parker arrived at their destination, Rice was attempting to drag her out as laid on the ground apparently unconscious.
The National Football League “investigated” the incident and even after Rice gave them a full account of the incident, the league decided on a two-game suspension. But days before Rice was set to return to the Ravens, the mecca of gossip and home wrecking in TMZ released the video from inside of the elevator that showed Rice striking Parker. And after the public outcry, the NFL would suspend Rice indefinitely in spite of the fact that he initially gave them a full account of the entire incident. The NFL claimed that they were never able to obtain the footage from the Atlantic City Police Department, or the Revel Casino. However this whole incident makes you wonder as to how an entity such as the NFL that rakes in $9 billion a year cannot obtain footage of one of its players, but a television show can gives you all that you need to know that they really didn’t want to know about the Rice incident.
This was further magnified this year when the National Football League decided to suspend New York Giants kicker Josh Brown after his domestic violence incident. The NFL initially suspended Brown for the first game of the season, but since then new evidence has come out where the kicker claims to have a long history of verbally and physically abusing women. The King County Sherrif’s Department in the State of Washington claimed that the NFL’s “investigator” never informed them that he was affiliated with the league, and thus the information was never released. And since the public outcry over Brown has grown in the past two weeks, the Giants have decided to tuck tail and run by releasing Brown as like the NFL, they never bothered to properly do their homework.
But this is the same National Football League that will talk a good talk into punishing offenders when it comes to domestic violence, however that punishment doesn’t come until the public demands action as players such as Brown and former defensive end Greg Hardy were allowed to come back and collect pay checks after using women for punching bags.
And as Goodell can only sound like Ralph Kramden when he is grilled by the press on the National Football League’s “alleged” stance on domestic violence, this is the same league that was more than willing to throw the book at the New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady for “possibly” under inflating footballs during a game in which they were clearly the better team, while this is a practice that other teams have reportedly done as well. This matter went to Federal Court and the battle took place for more than a year, and as the NFL spent all of the money to “prosecute” Brady and the Patriots, they can’t flex their muscles and put an end to domestic violence in their league?
The National Football League has basically let it be known that if you’re a women beater, rapist, or murderer, you have a chance to earn a paycheck from them because you can throw a football 50 yards, make a 55-yard field goal, or sack a quarterback because that is what the league is about which is to do whatever it takes at any cost in the effort to win without regard for anyone who gets in their way.
And as the National Football League is attempting to fix the problem of their television ratings being down this year, they can sit back and blame it on some players refusing to stand for the national anthem in order to promote an end to police brutality all that they want to. But the real issue is that this league has shown that they don’t care about women as they are more concerned about putting a franchise in England, while also shunning those that are proud to be homosexuals, or promote Jesus Christ. However in this NFL, that doesn’t matter as ethics and morals are the last thing on the mind of Goodell and the 32 team owners as they are blinded by their pursuit of the almighty dollar.
The National Football League and commissioner Roger Goodell finally got what they wanted as New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will serve a four-game suspension to begin the 2016 NFL season as a result of underinflated footballs during the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts in January 2015. This marks the end of a battle between Brady and the NFL that has gone on for nearly 18 months as the league was seeking to drop the hammer on him. And although that the NFL finally got what they were seeking, did they really win?
Goodell like his predecessors who have served as commissioner of the National Football League have been judge, jury, and executioner on league matters. But unlike Bert Bell and Pete Rozelle, Goodell has had to deal with an abundance on player misconduct while being very inconsistent in the process.
Upon taking over in 2006, Goodell found himself looking into player misconduct with people such as cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones which resulted in him being suspended for the entire 2007 National Football League season. Goodell would continue to drop the hammer on players for misconduct, but he developed a reputation for not being consistent which including him suspending quarterback Michael Vick after he served a two-year prison sentence for his role in a dog fighting ring, while also reducing the suspension of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger from six games to four following sexual assault allegations against him.
But Goodell’s power would be tested in 2012 when he came down hard on the New Orleans Saints organization for their system of putting out bounties on opposing players. Goodell would suspend Saints general manager Mickey Loomis, head coach Sean Payton, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, and assistant coach Joe Vitt while fining the organization $500k and stripping them of multiple draft picks. Goodell then turned his attention to the Saints roster where he would suspend linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the entire 2012 National Football League season, defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove for eight games, defensive end Will Smith for four games, and linebacker Scott Fujita for three games. However unlike the Saints administration, the players would ban together and fight Goodell’s ruling.
With the support of the National Football League’s Player’s Association, the Saints players took their case to federal court where they were able to prove that Goodell had suspended them without evidence and subsequently their suspensions were overturned which was huge blow to the commissioner’s authority.
And in the case of Brady and the Patriots, Goodell was attempting to show that he still had the ultimate authority in the National Football League which could wind up hurting him in the end.
When the National Football League’s investigation of Brady and the Patriots began in the spring of 2015, the league hired “independent” investigator Ted Wells to conduct things. But Wells was already on the NFL’s payroll and all that he could conclude was that Brady “probably knew” that the footballs were underinflated. Brady did not fully cooperate with the investigation, but Wells never made it clear to him that he would be subject to discipline by the league if he didn’t.
Goodell would suspend Brady for the first four games of the 2015 National Football League season, and like the Saints players before him, he would appeal. However Goodell would invoke a clause in the collective bargaining agreement which allowed him to be the “independent” arbitrator on Brady’s appeal which would become a glorified witch hunt. Brady’s suspension was upheld which paved the way for him to take the NFL to federal court.
Last summer, Brady’s case would be heard by Judge Richard Berman in the United States District Court who ruled in his favor and overturned Goodell’s ruling. The National Football League and Goodell were in trouble from the first day of the proceedings when Berman asked them for their evidence against Brady to which they were unable to provide any.
But instead of taking the loss, Goodell decided to appeal Berman’s ruling to the U.S. Appeals Court where he and the deep pocket owners of the National Football League would find a three-judge panel ruled in his favor. Brady would appeal, but it would be denied which was to Goodell’s liking. There was the possibility of Brady taking this matter to the Supreme Court, but he decided against that option and will now serve his four-game suspension.
Goodell won out as he had the backing of some of the big boys such as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti who wanted to see him make an example out of Brady and the Patriots. Goodell won out due to the fact that he exercised a clause which allowed him to be the arbitrator on Brady’s case, and it is something that he may never be able to use again.
When the current collective bargaining agreement was ratified between the players and owners, it was agreed upon that Goodell could act as an independent arbitrator on rulings. But what has hurt Goodell and the National Football League on their handling of Brady’s case is that the quarterback was suspended for something that nobody really cares about as playing with an underinflated football is the equivalent of driving 56 miles per hour in a 55 zone. Brady’s suspension of four games is the equivalent of a player that violated the NFL’s supplement policy, while players who have been arrested have received lesser penalties from the league which proves that Goodell cannot be impartial.
Goodell will claim that Brady failed to comply with the investigation while he is out to “protect the shield”. But the National Football League shield was tarnished a long time ago as they’ve failed to take care of their retired players that made the game the phenomenon that it is today as some of them have suffered debilitating injuries, while also being extremely reactionary with cases such as that of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. Goodell initially suspended Rice for two games due to domestic violence. But when TMZ leaked a video of the full incident in which Rice was seen punching his wife (then fiancee) Janay Palmer, he would be suspended indefinitely by the NFL. This was done in spite of the fact that Rice gave Goodell and Ravens team officials including Bisciotti, a full testimony of his involvement well before the video was leaked. But like a true politician, all Goodell did was deny, deny, deny.
Had the Brady case never been made public, this would not be a topic right now, and I would be writing about something else. But as the media got a hold of it and proceeded to act in the fashion of the glorified prostitutes that they are, Goodell figured that he would have to do something in order to protect his precious shield. However Goodell never made it public knowledge that the league conducted another investigation of how other teams around the National Football League prepare footballs prior to games during last season which was disclosed. And that alone makes you wonder if other NFL teams doctor the football as well, however no punishment is or will be coming down the pike for them.
Make no mistake about it that Goodell is in a bind as he must do what the owners of the 32 National Football League franchises want him to do which is not always going to come off well in the court of pubic opinion. But in this case it is 31 teams as Patriots owner Robert Kraft has now been made the black sheep of the family as the other team owners convinced him to not fight Goodell’s ruling which included his team being fined $1 million and losing multiple draft picks. Kraft is not without fault as his organization was caught up in the “Spygate” scandal of 2007 that saw them found guilty of taping opposing teams signals during games, but Brady appears to be guilty by association.
In the case of Brady it is guilty until Goodell says otherwise as the quarterback was not given a due process. And to those out there that will claim that Goodell is the ultimate authority figure of the National Football League, what would you do if your employer reprimanded you for something that either he/she didn’t have proof that you did while simply throwing their weight around?
Goodell has shown that he cannot be impartial as last season saw Brady taking more hits that in year’s past would have warranted penalty flags during the game, and fines to those defenders. But if Brady is supposed to be protected in the same fashion that other quarterbacks are, why did it stop now being that he fought the bully that Goodell is?
Once upon a time Ted DiBiase coined the phrase that “everybody has a price for the Million Dollar Man” as money talks louder than anything else. And as the Jones’ and Bischotti’s of the world are billionaires, their money speaks louder and they have the ability to bribe any judge and twist the legal system anyway that they see fit. Brady got caught up in that wash which led to Goodell’s victory. However when it’s time for the owners and players to hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement in a few years, this ruling will be a major sticking point. So Goodell wanted to flex his muscles, but will it be worth it if this ultimately cost him some of the power that he was sorely seeking to keep as the players now have overwhelming evidence that he cannot be impartial?
And if the Patriots go on to win Super Bowl 51, it will be must-see television if Goodell has to hand Brady and company the Vince Lombardi Trophy after he has fought them vigorously for the past 18 months.
We all knew that the day would come when the National Football League would appeal the overturned suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Last spring Brady was suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for the first four games of the 2015 season for his alleged role in under inflated footballs being used in the first half of the AFC Championship Game in January 2015 against the Indianapolis Colts. Brady along with the NFLPA appealed the suspension in Federal Court in New York last summer where U.S. District Judge Richard Berman overturned Goodell’s suspension. But the door was left open for the NFL to appeal Berman’s ruling and that process began earlier this month in the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan where a panel of three judges consisting of Robert Kateman, Barrington Parker Jr., and Denny Chin heard arguments from both the league and Brady’s representatives. Each side was grilled over the matter as the National Football League is hopeful to come away victorious, but at what expense?
This issue has been drug out now for more than a year over something that most people don’t care about. And regardless of the court’s ruling on the matter, there won’t be any winners that will emerge from this as Brady appears to be a man that feels he is above the law while Goodell who is serving as the stuntman for the NFL owners cannot accept defeat.
A big reason why Berman overturned Brady’s suspension last year was due to the fact that he saw right through the National Football League’s glorified witch hunt that was orchestrated in their investigation of Brady. The NFL never informed Brady that he could be subject to a league mandated suspension if he failed to cooperate with the investigation that was conducted by “independent” investigator Ted Wells who happens to work for the NFL. In Wells’ final report, he could only say that Brady “probably knew” that the footballs were purposely under inflated, but he was never fully able to determine the quarterback’s involvement. And when Berman questioned the National Football League over the matter in regards to their evidence against Brady, the league failed to produce any.
This isn’t the first time that a player has appealed a suspension by the National Football League in federal court and won, but this is the first case of Goodell and the league are fighting the court’s decision. Goodell is attempting to maintain his post as the dean of discipline in the National Football League, but at what cost?
Right now money is being wasted by the National Football League and the NFLPA in court over this matter where those finances could be put to better uses. There needs to be more money allotted by both parties for research on the long-term effects of head injuries to players as well as more health benefits for retired players who have suffered debilitating injuries from their playing days and that currently is not the case.
Goodell appears to have a personal vendetta against Brady which became evident this past season when the quarterback seemed to have suffered more questionable hits against him by defenders than in years past, but referees appeared to turn a blind eye more often than not. And on top of that, the outcome of the game against the Colts would not have been changed had the footballs been properly inflated for the entire game. This is the same league that once allowed wide receivers and defensive backs to use stickum on their hands to catch the football better until it got out of hand with former Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders cornerback Lester Hayes. Now wide receivers simply use gloves that practically stick to the football when they contact each other. The National Football League sat idly by when former Miami Dolphins head coach Don Shula purposely left the field at Miami’s Orange Bowl uncovered during a storm which led to a much slower playing surface during the 1982 AFC Championship Game against the New York Jets. And we can also not forget about Goodell and the NFL changing the suspension of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice from a two-game suspension to an indefinite suspension once TMZ released video footage of him striking his then fiancee Janay Parker in the elevator of an Atlantic City casino.
As previously mentioned, Goodell is only doing this because the owners that put him in this position (minus Patriots owner Robert Kraft) who are fueling him with the ammunition to do so. But just like Brady’s legal representation is being grilled about the quarterback destroying his cell phone, the league must also prove that they gave him a fair shake which is far from the case. And regardless of what the panel decides to do on this matter, nobody wins as the majority of the public views Brady as a cheater while the National Football League comes off as a multi-billion dollar organization that wants to flex their financial muscles to prove a whimsical point.
By now we’ve all heard the reported ins and outs in regards to Deflategate as the National Football League has dropped the hammer down on the New England Patriots for reportedly using under inflated footballs during last season’s AFC Championship Game victory over the Indianapolis Colts. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell summoned Ted Wells to do an “independent” investigation on the matter in regards to the Patriots and their starting quarterback Tom Brady. Wells recently released his report and in his findings he found that Brady “probably” was aware of what was going on in regards to the football being doctored by someone on the Patriots staff. Goodell was okay with Wells’ finding and in turn suspended Brady for the first four games of the upcoming NFL season along with fining the Patriots organization $1 million and stripping them of two draft picks. Brady is vehemently denying and fighting the findings from Wells which has produced a situation where there will absolutely be no winners.
Through the National Football League Players Association, Brady has appealed the suspension that was handed down by Goodell. Goodell in turn has decided to name himself as the “independent” arbitrator on the suspension which is something straight out of kangaroo court. The NFLPA wants Goodell to remove himself from the case due to the fact that they want him to testify in the matter as they are looking to grill him on what grounds that he has to suspend Brady for as long as he did. Publicly, Goodell will make it appear that he came down on the Patriots for the integrity of the NFL. But anyone who has followed the NFL will know that integrity was lost by this league a long time ago.
Goodell has been on the job as NFL commissioner since 2006 and the one thing that he has been since taking over as far as reprimanding league personnel is “consistently inconsistent”. Goodell took over a league where player misconduct was out of control and in 2007, he suspended cornberback Adam “Pacman” Jones for the entire season after his numerous run-ins with the law. In 2007, quarterback Michael Vick was convicted in a federal court for dog fighting and he spent two years in prison. Vick missed two years away from the NFL and when he was released from prison in 2009, Goodell decided to still suspend him for two games. But in 2010, Goodell suspended Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for six games for his off-the-field conduct which was ultimately reduced to four games and it drew the ire of many critics. Last July, Goodell suspended running back Ray Rice for the first two games of the season following his arrest for a domestic violence incident. Rice met with Goodell and gave the commissioner a detailed description of the incident. But Goodell didn’t decide to lay the hammer down on Rice until TMZ released detailed footage of the incident. In a move to clearly save face, Goodell then suspended Rice indefinitely after public backlash. The NFL players have always been critical of how Goodell treats them as opposed to the team owners as they believe that the owners should be held to an even higher standard. And when Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay pleaded guilty last September to OWI, Goodell missed a chance to gain some cool points with the NFL players as he suspended Irsay for six games and fined him $500k which is a drop in the bucket to a billionaire like Irsay. But when Goodell recently disciplined the Patriots, was the punishment too severe for the crime or was it that the media took the story and ran with it?
When the reports began to surface about Deflategate, there were those that wanted Brady suspended for the Super Bowl. And then when Wells released his findings, some folks wanted Brady suspended for a full season. And for what? The footballs didn’t have any outcome in last season’s AFC Championship Game, and when the world waited to see Brady fall flat on his face in the Super Bowl this past February, it was his right arm that beat the Seattle Seahawks who possessed the best secondary in football. This is the same public outcry that has forced Goodell’s hand in the past and as a result things have generally blown up in his face.
In 2012, the New Orleans Saints were punished by the NFL and Goodell for running an illegal bounty program where former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was found to have been paying players for injuring players on opposing teams. The NFL will not come out and directly say it, but bounties have been around the game for years. But when the public got a hold of it; especially in the wake of the heigthened awareness around head injuries and overall player safety, the NFL and Goodell came down hard on the Saints organization. Goodell would strip the Saints of multiple draft picks while also suspending several Saints personnel including head coach Sean Payton for the 2012 NFL season and Williams indefinitely. Goodell also handed down suspensions to Saints players, Jonathan Vilma, Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith, and Scott Fujita. Unlike the coaches, the players, under the representation of the NFLPA took the NFL to federal court where they had their suspensions overturned as just like the current case with the Patriots, Goodell was reprimanding people on hearsay instead of cold hard facts.
The under inflated footballs that the Patriots used were only in the first half of the AFC Championship as they took a 17-7 lead to the locker room at halftime. But the Patriots outscored the Colts 28-0 in the second half as they beat the brakes off of them. And in the findings of Wells, he only claimed that Brady “probably” knew about it which in a court of law doesn’t carry that much water.
The Pats and Kraft have accepted Goodell’s ruling after clearing the air on the matter. And if Goodell had gone back on what he has handed down, he once again looks soft, and if he upholds the suspension, he’ll look like a guy that simply overreacted.
As long as Goodell is the commissioner of the National Football League, he will never have the full support of the players as they feel that he is unfair. And for those who will read this and say that life is unfair should harken back to any job that they’ve had where their employer treated another employee different and better from them. Goodell’s job is not to protect the players and keep them happy as it is all about pleasing the owners because they are the ones that he works for. In his ruling, Goodell appeared to have lost the support of one of the most powerful NFL owners in Patriots owner Robert Kraft who is one of the longest tenured owners in the league. More than any other commissioner in the history of the NFL, Goodell has found himself front and center with pressing issues like never before as his job appears to be as stressful as that of the President of the United States. The more money that you make generally comes with more problems and as the NFL is currently sitting on a pile of money that would make the folks at Fort Knox jealous, they are dealing with public relations issues that couldn’t fit into all of the 31 stadiums combined.
Where the Patriots organization decided to throw in the towel, Brady will still fight this matter and being that the NFLPA is one of the strongest unions in America, he has a puncher’s chance as it will be very hard for Goodell to convince a federal judge that Brady should be reprimanded in the same fashion as those players who have had run-ins with the law for a matter that was ticky-tack as best. The NFL continuously wants to change its image, but they appear to be stuck in the Bermuda Triangle of a public relations mess.