Gridiron Audibles: Four-Game Ban Sticks to Brady as Court Date Looms

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will uphold the leagues four-game suspension of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who has now authorized the NFLPA to bring the matter to federal court.

So we wait some more.

The commissioner while finding that Brady “sought to hide evidence of his own participation in the scheme to deflate footballs” reportedly offered the quarterback a reduced penalty of as little as one game if the Hall of Fame quarterback would simply admit to some wrongdoing in the deflated footballs saga. In a scene straight out of the film A Few Good Men, Brady chose to stick to his guns and reject the leagues offer.

Brady took to social media following the ruling. “I am very disappointed by the NFL’s decision to uphold the 4 game suspension against me. I did nothing wrong, and no one in the Patriots organization did either.”

No matter his guilt or innocence, declining to admit malice was his only recourse; an admission of guilt would have tainted his illustrious career forever. It would have been listed right along with his four championships and three Super Bowl MVP’s.

Following the commissioner’s decision, the Patriots issued the following statement. “We are extremely disappointed in Commissioner Goodell’s ruling. We cannot comprehend the league’s position in this matter. Most would agree that the penalties levied originally were excessive and unprecedented, especially in light of the fact that the league has no hard evidence of wrongdoing. We continue to unequivocally believe in and support Tom Brady. We also believe that the laws of science continue to underscore the folly of this entire ordeal. Given all of this, it is incomprehensible as to why the league is attempting to destroy the reputation of one of its greatest players and representatives.”

GRIDIRON AUDIBLES by Christian A. Guarino
GRIDIRON AUDIBLES by Christian A. Guarino

Uh, excuse me? The penalties were “Excessive and unprecedented”? Goodell, for all his faults, gave Brady an out. Just admit some fault and that you failed to cooperate, take your one-game suspension and move on.

The Patriots claim of a lack of hard evidence is laughable. The league has texts from the phones of team employees Jim McNally and John Jastremski that go a long way towards implicating Brady. The above-mentioned individuals were suspended by the team following a league request.

At the June appeal hearing in league headquarters, Brady and his attorney admitted to destroying the cell phone he used between November of 2014 and March of 2015. Brady cited that he always destroys his old phone when he gets a new one. About as often as a normal person changes his or her socks. Unfortunately, the cell phone just prior to this infamous phone found its way to the NFL for investigation. It had not been destroyed.

The Patriots “unequivocally” support Brady, yet owner Robert Kraft accepted Goodell’s penalty against the team. If he believed Brady was not lying, then the fine imposed on his team should have also been viewed as “excessive” and a fight for justice should have ensued.  A 2016 first round draft pick, a fourth rounder in 2017 and $1 million are hardly chump change.

Why would they feel the need to accept guilt in the matter? Did Kraft truly feel it was in the best interest of the league, his team and the other 31 owners to accept the penalty and move on, while creating the public opinion that he did not believe his franchise player?

Forget the myths the local media has created, these decisions on the part of the organization bring up the most important question of all, one that many Bostonians would call sacrilegious; Maybe the folks down in Foxboro aren’t the brightest people after all?

If I’m going to bash Goodell and the NFL, it’s only fair to question the curious resolve of the Patriots.

For now we continue to wait. Mercifully, in mere weeks, on-field action will return to the forefront.

Christian A. Guarino, a Boston North End resident, writes about football and soccer for the Boston Post Gazette.