Roger Goodell Brought This DeflateGate Mess on Himself

It has been six months since the beginning of DeflateGate, the most overblown scandal in the history of football — and quite possibly all of professional sports. You already know pretty much everything that has been reported, so the story will be spared to some extent. What many fail to realize is that the true story lies in the details, some of which have proven to be full of misinformation that points to an incorrect narrative most still believe to be accurate. The creator of this narrative has been none other than the NFL, specifically its commissioner, Roger Goodell. Once again, Goodell has gone mad with power, and decided to make something out of nothing that will result in another lengthy legal battle for the NFL brand.

Before we go any further, it is very important to emphasize that I have no idea what happened during that Championship game, whether or not balls were deflated, and I am uncertain whether Brady was responsible for it. Science proves that, based on the temperature, the footballs would have deflated the amount they did (a mere 0.6 – 0.9 PSIs) if Brady asked the ball boys to inflate the footballs based on the lowest of the required limits, which is 12.5 (this fact can also explain why three of four Colts footballs were also slightly deflated as well). Wells, however, did not use this method in his report, but the narrative that he used bad science has yet to be reported by the mainstream media.

Roger Goodell Brought This DeflateGate Mess on Himself

The only true outlier that can prove the balls were intentionally deflated were the text messages exchanged between the two ball boys, and they are open to interpretation. The text everyone cites — the one that mentioned “the deflater” — was sent out in May of last year, not during the NFL season, something that has gone mostly unreported. It is, nevertheless, completely erroneous to dismiss the text messages completely, as they may at least hint at wrongdoing and lead to further examination.

Over these past few days, we learned that Brady destroyed his phone, which paints another disingenuous depiction of what happened in order to fit the public perception mould the NFL sought. Lost in all of this was the fact Brady wasn’t going to give out his phone regardless; Wells didn’t even ask for the phone, just the records. Brady even offered to help the NFL recover his messages, but they refused. It looked suspicious (though a former teammate of Brady’s from Michigan said it was routine for him to change phones regularly), and the NFL capitalized with that headline.

What the report really should have stated — instead of the inconceivable wording of “more probable than not” — is a clearly stated “I don’t know”. Doing this, however, would mean the NFL admitting to incompetence, opening up a wide range of criticism not so long after the Ray Rice debacle. Instead, they elected to fabricate another scandal that will make the public ignore these shortcomings, starting with the blatant false leaks of the footballs being 2 PSIs less than the required standards that they didn’t even bothered to correct until the report came out; ESPN has yet still to retract that story and admit they were wrong. Four months later, the “independent” report that contained an already pre-determined outcome was released, which made Brady and the Patriots look guiltier than what evidence suggests. What’s even more harrowing is the wide collection of individuals that asked for an unjustifiable suspension, which th eNFL complied with despite having no firm ground to stand on. With Brady’s appeal being upheld based on a very carefully crafted 20-page report, and the NFLPA already filing their suit to be heard in New York (originally filed in Minnesota, but the judge moved it to New York) in order for the suspension to be vacated completely, this will be another scandal that will not end any time soon, something we’ve seen before in Goodell’s tenure as commissioner.

The opinion pertaining to Brady in court has been mixed, with some saying he’ll win, and others saying he’ll lose. Regardless, to say he has no chance in court is wrong, because even if the guilty verdict is maintained, he can still win. The punishment for violating game equipment is a $25,000 fine, not a four-game suspension. Those that say “he didn’t cooperate and that’s why he was suspended” will also have to understand that. If that argument is true, the last punishment for not cooperating was a mere $50,000 fine. Jumping from a $50,000 fine to a four-game suspension for Brady highlights Goodell’s inconsistencies regarding player discipline. Notice how these two points have nothing to do with whether he’s guilty or not, and he already has the upper hand in court no matter who says otherwise. It is of course very important for he and the NFLPA to tread lightly in this, as the NFL has shown over the past few days they won’t compromise as well.

What I still have yet to understand is how a minor offense of equipment violation turned into such a huge scandal. It boggles my mind that Goodell went as far as to say it undermined “the integrity of the game”. Since when was deflated footballs a big deal for the NFL? Every team that’s broken this rule has gotten a $25,000 fine (Chargers), and some weren’t even fined at all (Panthers and Vikings). But now, because of the public outcry, and the countless of individuals who just want Brady suspended without looking at the situation with a larger perspective, the NFL just simply decidedit was a detriment to the game. All of this could’ve been avoided if Goodell simply admitted this was not a big deal, handed out the $25,000 fine for tampering with equipment, and fined Brady $50,000 or $100,000 for not cooperating. Because he listened to the public pressure, and the fact that he has close ties with Patriots owner Robert Kraft (which I think it’s wrong for “neutral” commissioner of a league to have), he’s now in this mess he brought on himself.

Time and time again Goodell has proven how inconsistent he has been through turbulent situations. Only in the NFL can a minor rule infraction turn into a full-fledged controversy that spans several months. There’s no compass guiding the ship, and slowly but surely the ship is veering in the wrong direction. Many NFL fans are tired of all the commotion. They just want to focus on the game they love, but Goodell and his antics fail to permit this, all for the name of staying relevant in a time where not much news around football is heard. The NFL and its owners have prospered in the short time he’s been commissioner, but on the long term that doesn’t seem to be the case. For a man who uses the line “integrity of the game” as a method of propaganda so effectively, no one’s hurting its integrity more than Roger Goodell, and it’s about time his unstable run as commissioner comes to an end.

 

Main Photo: NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 08: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell holds a press conference on October 8, 2014 in New York City. Goodell addressed the media at the conclusion of the annual Fall league meeting in the wake of a string of high-profile incidents, including the domestic violence case of Ray Rice. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)