After listening to New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick’s laughable “scientific” explanation of how footballs in the course of play deflate on their own, after listening to Tom Brady whine — off-field for a change — that even though he likes his footballs squishy he had nothing to do with the squishiness of the 36 balls his team provided during the AFC championship game against Indianapolis, it seemed obvious that the quarterback’s four-game suspension would hold.
Fat chance. From Yahoo News:
After more than seven months, several millions of dollars and big talking from the league and commissioner Roger Goodell in the deflate-gate controversy, the first time someone independent looked at the case against Tom Brady it was thrown out.
Judge Richard M. Berman ruled that Brady’s four-game suspension by the NFL will be vacated, according to the Associated Press and other reports.
The article’s author, Frank Schwab, goes on to editorialize that “the NFL tried to make its most popular player a scapegoat” despite a lack of evidence and that the league “for whatever reason, didn’t want to admit that and kept trying to turn Brady into a villain. An independent judge,” Schwab concludes, “saw it for what it was worth.”
Most popular player? Brady may be New England fans’s fair-haired boy, though even among that group there are detractors (such as veteran Boston Globe sportswriter Dan Shaughnessy). But as far as the rest of us go, Brady’s shtick — from pouting when he throws offline to running up the score with cheap touchdowns to best Peyton Manning’s season touchdown record — makes him a goat, not a hero.
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As for Schwab’s claim that “there was no evidence against Brady,” there was plenty of the circumstantial kind. Such as Brady’s unsolicited admission in 2011 that he likes his footballs deflated.
The NFL will almost certainly appeal today’s decision. However, unless they can move mountains to get the ruling they are looking for, Brady will open the season with his team a week from today against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Interesting that the season opener should pit the Steelers against the stealers.
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