Just days after the NFL and Roger Goodell levied a pretty hefty suspension on Tom Brady for his involvement in Deflate-Gate, the commissioner himself will now be judge, jury and executioner.
Roger Goodell hearing Tom Brady appeal. Hired Ted Wells to investigate. Deferred punishment to Troy Vincent but approved it as justifiable— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) May 15, 2015
A lot of talk has been issued around the NFL nooks and crannies about the suspension being reduced, but now a little backpedaling maybe occurring. So much has been made of the relationship between Goodell and Patriots' owner Bob Kraft, however, that this infraction really struck to the core of the commissioner.
He's been an advocate of phrases like "protecting the shield and integrity of the game", now is his chance to be tough in the court of public opinion. It's not as simple as reducing the suspension because of who Tom Brady is and what team he plays for.
In the NFL's view, Brady violated the rules (Section II of the NFL Rules.) Three things will hurt him most in this preceding:
1. Not cooperating with handing over the text messages (although we still don't know what, if anything was there)
2. The text messages between the equipment folks that pinpoint Brady
3. The New England Patriots refusal to allow McNally to be interviewed for a second time
It's hard to see how they can overturn this ruling after the Patriots have already been caught red-handed before and Brady was a part of those teams, too. It would send the wrong message to the rest of the league and also turn Goodell into public enemy number one.
If you are protecting the integrity of the game, you cannot let this one slide in favor of Nielsen Ratings. Whether or not deflating a ball is cheating is debatable, but if the rules state it is, you go by the rules. Roger Goodell will now have the eyes of every owner, player and fan alike upon him as he makes final judgement.