It ain’t over.
And that’s the best news for NFL America.
Many believed New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady was guilty as sin in Deflategate.
And while he escaped a four-game suspension to start last season, Brady might actually have to serve it to start the 2016 season.
We can only hope.
Brady’s lawyer, Jeffrey Kessler, was back in court on Thursday in NYC. And Kessler was pressed hard by judges during the NFL’s appeal to reinstate the quarterback’s four-game suspension for allegedly deflating footballs.
One judge flat out questioned how the original suspension was overturned when in his opinion the evidence of ball tampering was “compelling, if not overwhelming.”
Finally, an honest look at the case that shook the NFL last year.
To the NFL’s credit, they have continued to fight in Brady’s attempt to break the rules and mess with the integrity of the game.
No player, not even a face of the league, should be allowed to get away with something so wrong or blatant, for that matter.
Another part of the NFL’s appeal is that the commissioner has the authority to suspend Brady or any player in that situation via article of the CBA.
“This is not an individual player issue,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said at the Super Bowl last month. “This is about the rights we negotiated in our collective bargaining agreement.
“We think they are very clear, we think they are important to the league going forward and we disagree with the district judge’s decision. We are appealing that, which is part of the legal process.”
Thanks to that hack judge, Brady’s four-game suspension was nullified late summer, allowing him to start of the season.
Most outside of New England felt Brady got away with another one, cheated his way to his fourth Super Bowl victory.
What makes sports fun and compelling is that most believe there’s an equal playing field and all involved have an equal chance to win.
Most don’t believe it’s the case when it comes to Pats’ coach Bill Belichick and his team.
Brady was levied the punishment after the Ted Wells investigation revealed that Brady had a role in a conspiracy to deflate footballs below the allowable limit at last season’s AFC Championship Game.
That’s why most NFL fans were pulling for Peyton Manning and the Broncos in the AFC title game this season. It’s not that fans were crazy about Denver. It was more like an anybody-but-Brady movement.
Because of that terrible judge, the NFL missed an opportunity to hammer home that no one, not even the Golden Boy, is above the game.
To this day, it’s amazing that some Pats’ fans honestly believe that the NFL railroaded Brady into a crime he didn’t commit. That simply made no sense for Brady, one of the faces of the league.
Clearly, the ball boys didn’t do this on their own. Any honest former NFL QB great would acknowledge that it could not have happened without Brady asking for it. Even Joe Montana – Brady’s childhood idol – fingered Brady.
Former NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden also said Brady had to be involved.
Yet, Brady and the already-convicted Patriots got to laugh at the NFL – again. They got to keep their Super Bowls despite Spygate. And in that case, they were found guilty.
Just maybe, this time the NFL Gods, via this appeal, will get to laugh at Brady and his cheating organization.
Most honest football fans know Brady had a hand in this scandal. It still hurts his character and tells you about him.
Brady, once in the same class as Derek Jeter for their squeaky-clean careers both on and off the field, is no longer there. His resume is dirty.
There are many in the NFL that won’t view Brady the same away going forward. Hard to respect a cheater. Better yet, a man who won’t own up to his mistakes and simply ask for forgiveness.
There was no ruling Thursday. But it’s a start in the right direction, one that ultimately lead to Brady’s much deserved suspension.