Deflategate Could Mean the End of Roger Goodell

Last Thursday at approximately 9:30AM, Judge Berman ruled in favor of Tom Brady, nullifying the 4 game suspension that was handed down by Commissioner Roger Goodell several months ago, in effect making him eligible for Week 1. In a 40 page review, Judge Berman made several points to why he lifted the suspension. He mentioned that the NFL didn’t give Tom Brady official notice that he would be suspended for the 4 games, as well as the suspension being equivalent to one being suspended for PED use. He also said that while Commissioner Goodell has the full authority to levy “fair and judicial” punishment, they could not use his power to unfairly and/or illegally rule a suspension. NFLPA director DeMaurice Smith applauded Judge Berman for this decision saying that this ruling proves that the CBA doesn’t allow the Commissioner “the authority to be unfair, arbitrary, and misleading.”

Immediately following the proceedings the NFL and Goodell issued a statement saying, “We are grateful to Judge Berman for hearing this matter, but respectfully disagree with today’s decision. We will appeal today’s ruling in order to uphold the collectively bargained responsibility to protect the integrity of the game. The commissioner’s responsibility to secure the competitive fairness of our game is a paramount principle, and the league and our 32 clubs will continue to pursue a path to that end.”

As of right now, it is not known when or where the appeals will take place, but it is unlikely to come before week 1, which means that Tom Brady in all likelyhood will be in uniform playing against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the season opener.

But the appeal, even if Goodell ends up winning, might not matter in the big scheme of things. The NFL has lost once again in the court of public opinion. In the last year alone he’s been on the wrong end of backlash on several occasions. From Ray Rice, to Adrian Peterson, to Greg Hardy, and now Tom Brady, Roger Goodell has wrongly used his power, and been extremely inconsistent in the form of his suspensions and his handling of the public outcry.

In the Rice situation, he immediately faced backlash because of the leniency he gave him with only a 2 game suspension, only to suspend him for the rest of the season after the video was released by TMZ. Then Adrian Peterson was put on the “Commissioners Exempt List” after photos surfaced of his son having bruises and whip marks after he was reportedly “beat by a switch” by Peterson. The Commissioners Exempt List was new to many, and was seen as a fake suspension to appease the public. And Greg Hardy’s 10 game suspension for domestic violence was reduced to 4 games, even though Hardy was already found guilty in a court of law for his crimes. The ruling in that case was eventually dropped because the victim was paid off by Hardy during the appeals process.

Now with Tom Brady, most around the country beforehand thought this offense was minimal at best and the NFL rules currently state that the only thing Goodell could do for a “equipment malfunction” was a fine. Instead he suspended Brady for 4 games saying that Brady was “generally aware” instead of having actual evidence against him. It was basically he said/she said from the start and that never warrants a suspension for anybody.

In the end Roger Goodell has once again lost, and it’s time that the owners see how bad this negative press is affecting their brand. What Goodell has shown in the last year is his inability to correctly analyze situations, his inability to hand down fair suspensions, and his inability to command respect from his peers and the public. Everything that Goodell says from now on won’t be taken seriously and will always be questioned. Deflategate is the final nail in the proverbial coffin, and it’s time for the 32 owners to start looking at new leadership.