Deflating Deflategate


Tyler Alexander, Assistant Editor

PRECURSER: If you have a strong interest in the developments of this case and would like to be unbiased, and knowledgeable on the subject, I strongly suggest you read the entire Wells Report.


The NFL and Roger Goodell have come down hard on the New England Patriots in response to “deflategate”, and there is seemingly no correct or comprehensible way to interpret the news. As of May 11, the Patriots will lose their 1st round draft pick in 2016, 4th round draft pick in 2017, Tom Brady will be suspended for the first four games of the season, and the Patriots organization will be fined one million dollars. The only previous comparable punishment was to Sean Payton for “Bountygate”. In order to decide whether this suspension is fair, it’s important to first look at other penalties delegated by the NFL.


A four game suspension for Tom Brady means that his role in the deflating of footballs warrants the same penalty as first-time ped users. It is also double the suspension for a domestic violence, and is equal to a SECOND rape accusation. Whether deflating footballs is on par with these crimes is up for personal debate, but these are the facts. In addition, Brady was not in fact suspended for “cheating,” “Tom Brady was suspended without pay for first four games of the 2015 regular season for conduct detrimental to the integrity of the NFL.”


While it is certainly clear that Tom Brady and the New England Patriots have given the NFL a bad reputation throughout this entire process, it is hard to see what else Brady has done considering the Wells Report never in fact says that Brady is guilty. That is perhaps the most perplexing part. How can the NFL suspend a player on no solid evidence? If the allegations towards Tom Brady are in fact true, I certainly agree that Brady should be suspended for his role in deflategate. However, the Wells Report stresses throughout that Brady was “MORE LIKELY THAN NOT” involved in the deflation of the footballs used in the AFC Championship game. There was never any evidence found that Brady was involved, except for text messages exchanged between two Patriots employees, claiming that Brady encouraged them through money and autographs to deflate the footballs. The only connection that the Wells Report can make between Tom Brady and deflategate is that he was “more likely than not” involved. No definitive evidence has yet been provided, and until some is, it is very unlikely that many NFL fans will approve of the sanctions. Through reading many articles and watching many reports made of the suspension, it seems like there’s around a 85/15 split between people who don’t approve, and people who do approve of the suspension, with most people saying that it is far too harsh.


Now, as for the rest of the sanctions passed down onto the Patriots, a 1 Million dollar fine and being docked 2 draft picks is MAJOR punishment for any organization. However, the message that the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell is passing down, as per records shown below, are quite hypocritical:

NFL in response to Sean Payton: “You didn’t know about it, but that’s not an excuse.”

NFL to Patriots: “You didn’t know about it, but that’s not an excuse.”

Roger Goodell on Ray Rice video: “It’s not my fault, I didn’t know about it.”


It’s these types of egregious actions that place Goodell’s decisions in question. Cheating at any level is an inexcusable act, but pass down similar punishments for similar crimes. When the only evidence that you have against Brady is that he’s “more likely than not” involved, why suspend him instead of Aaron Rodgers, who admitted that he over-inflated the footballs that he uses beyond the legal limit. Why is there now an astrick next to the Patriots 2015 Super Bowl win when there isn’t one next to the lone Tampa Bay Buccaneers Super Bowl? Brad Johnson admitted that for the SUPER BOWL he PAID the equipment managers to deflate the footballs for the sports biggest game. It doesn’t seem like many fans are upset with the sanctions, as much as they are upset with the lack of consistency between cases.


For anyone who would like to further their knowledge on this case, the wells report can be found online, as well as a summary of the report. I would advise against reading biased articles on the subject before informing yourself on the facts.