In the months following the New England Patriots Super Bowl victory over the Seattle Seahawks, the reputation of Tom Brady and the Patriots organization has been put in jeopardy over allegations of tampering with and deflating footballs in their AFC Championship game victory over the Indianapolis Colts. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently issued a four game suspension to Brady, arguably the biggest poster child for the NFL today.
This suspension was handed down based on the findings of an investigation led by Ted Wells into the actions of Brady and the Patriots locker room staff. The conclusion of the investigation was that it was more than likely, but not a certainty that the Patriots locker room staff tampered with the footballs and that Brady was aware of it.
Goodell has been under fire for a large portion of his tenure as commissioner. Critics have pointed to Goodell’s inconsistencies in handing down punishments to the league’s players, such as Ray Rice. Rice was suspended for four games when he was arrested for assaulting his fiancé, and the punishment was only increased when a video emerged of Rice punching and dragging his wife in an elevator. Now, due to his large involvement in the initial investigation of Deflategate, many, including the NFL Player’s Association, called for Goodell to recuse himself from Brady’s appeal process, citing a conflict of interest and his suspect decision making in the past. Goodell however did not recuse himself and upheld Brady’s suspension based on the findings in the Wells report.
The reputation of arguably one of the best quarterbacks to ever play has been tainted and dragged through the mud by the questionable decisions of the commissioner and the front office of the NFL. In a league where domestic violence disputes are a seemingly weekly occurrence and training camp brawls occur daily, it is becoming more and more rare to find an individual who is an appropriate role model for the rest of the league and the countless kids glued to their televisions every Sunday.
The league had an opportunity to give Brady a chance to redeem himself, and continue to be one of the good guys in the NFL. His once sterling legacy may now be in jeopardy in the eyes of the fans. Regardless of whether the decision was warranted, the NFL has ostracized a player who had been a good example for the league, and for America’s youth.
Contact Brian Rose at [email protected]