Any minute or any day now, depending on what report you read, Tom Brady will be suspended by the NFL.
It better be a real-deal suspension for Brady, the New England Patriots quarterback. And not of the token variety – like a game or so.
Instead, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell – who started his tenure as the new sheriff in town with the goal of protecting the NFL shield and the game’s integrity – should come down hard on Brady, suspending him at least eight games for his role in Deflategate.
Yes, half of the 2015 season.
After all, the Ted Wells report, no matter how lamely worded, put the blame on Brady after 11 of the 12 of the Patriots’ footballs were under inflated in the AFC Championship against the Indianapolis Colts.
Although Brady said he didn’t know anything about it and also said he didn’t even know who the ball boys were, texts from those ball boys in this scandal paint Brady in a poor light.
Some of the messages even suggest that not only was Brady the ring leader in the deflation of the footballs, but that he was signing footballs in exchange for special treatment.
In a text exchange between Jim McNally (the officials locker room attendant) and John Jastremski (a Patriots’ equipment assistant) after the Pats played the Jets on Oct. 17, 2014, Brady complained about the ball pressure.
McNally text, “Tom sucks. im going to make that next ball a f—in balloon.”
Jastremski replied via text: “Talked to him last night. He actually brought you up and said you must have a lot of stress trying to get them done. …”
These texts show that Brady, the one-time Michigan star QB, lied in his press conference in trying to clear his name when the story first broke. It also shows that Brady would be willing to throw these two low-level workers under the bus in order to keep his name clean.
That says a lot about Brady. It makes some angrier about the cover-up than the crime itself. Brady hasn’t commented about the findings yet.
But fans – not Patriots fans who refuse to look at this objectively – shouldn’t be cool with Brady’s action.
All a sport has is its integrity. Once that’s gone, the sport is the WWE.
MLB legend Pete Rose’s crime against his sport was gambling. Again, it’s a matter of integrity.
Rose got a lifetime ban for his actions.
That’s why Goodell has to make an example of Brady, to put others on notice that skirting the rules won’t be tolerated. Not even from the star quarterback.
It messes with the game and whether fans believe it is played fairly for both sides.
Brady’s action reek, especially since this franchise already went through both accusations of cheating and an actual cheating scandal with Spygate.
The best part about some of the reaction from Deflategate is that it isn’t being taken lightly.
Don Shula, the Hall of Fame coach, said to reporters at an event celebrating the Miami Dolphins 50th anniversary that he wasn’t happy about how the Patriots compete in the NFL.
“It was always done with a lot of class and a lot of dignity,” said Shula, who won 347 games in his 33-year coaching career. “We didn’t deflate any balls. They all had the right amount of air in them.
“We always tried to do it by the rules and set an example for those that are looking for an example. That’s what I think I take more pride in than anything else in the years that I’ve been associated with the Dolphins.”
Several years ago, Shula referred to Pats’ coach Bill Belichick as “Bill Beli-cheat” over the Spygate. Shula is consistent. Goodell needs to be, too.
These scandals have tainted Brady’s Hall of Fame career in some eyes.
Enter Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Charles Haley. Haley blasted Brady, saying he had to “cheat” to get his rings.
Haley – who won five Super Bowl rings (two with the 49ers and three with the Cowboys) – was asked to pick the all-time best quarterback in the NFL: Joe Montana or Brady?
“Joe didn’t have to cheat,” Haley told the Talk of Fame Network. “I’ve lost all respect (for Brady). When your integrity is challenged in the game of football, to me, all his Super Bowls are tainted.”
Before the Super Bowl in Arizona, Montana, a four-time Super Bowl winner and Brady’s boyhood idol, blamed Brady for this scandal. “If I ever want a ball a certain way, I don’t do it myself. So, somebody did it for him,” Montana said to the media in Phoenix.
Now we are all awaiting the verdict, and that suspension better have teeth.