For more than a year, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been locked in an epic pissing contest with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The commissioner says that Brady lied about what he knew regarding the deflating of footballs during the 2015 AFC Championship Game. Brady denied any wrongdoing, but destroyed his cellphone anyway just as the NFL asked to see it to confirm his story. Whatever.
Eventually, Goodell handed down a four-game suspension against Brady, along with harsh penalties against the entire team. The Patriots had to surrender their first round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, and pay a fine of $1 Million. After his punishment was handed down, Brady refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing whatsoever — an admission that would have probably cut his suspension down to two games. Again, his choice — so whatever.
Brady took the NFL to federal court last year and won, meaning his suspension was voided and he was allowed to play in every game of the 2015 season. But the NFL promptly filed an appeal with the Second Circuit Court, which today reinstated Brady’s four game suspension.
In a nutshell, the appeals court concluded that the entire matter is a labor dispute, and that the collective bargaining agreement is clear that Goodell was within his rights to suspend Brady, for… whatever:
“Here, the parties contracted in the CBA to specifically allow the Commissioner to sit as the arbitrator. They did so knowing full well that the Commissioner had the sole power of determining what constitutes ‘conduct detrimental,’ and thus knowing that the Commissioner would have a stake both in the underlying discipline and in every arbitration [falling within his jurisdiction]. Had the parties wished to restrict the Commissioner’s authority, they could have fashioned a different agreement.”
It was Brady’s decision to take this matter to federal court in the first place, and that was an epic mistake. It was a foolish decision because it removed any incentive for the commissioner to cave on the four-game suspension. It is noteworthy that Patriots owner Robert Kraft accepted what he deemed an unfair penalty against the team, rather than sue the NFL in court. Kraft knew then, what Brady is learning now — Roger Goodell is eventually going to win this dispute.
Tom Brady should have just swallowed his pride and accepted some responsibility. His claims of total innocence aren’t believable — even if you throw out the flawed Wells Report. The bottom line is that Brady has been pouting for more than a year; pouting because, in this one instance, he didn’t get his way. Golden boys hate it when their halos get dinged, but Brady truly brought this on himself. Had he simply agreed to meet the commissioner — one-on-one — and admit what he knew, he probably could have gotten off with a 1 or 2-game suspension. But that course of action would have forced him to admit some small degree of fault — a deal-breaker for Perfect Tom.
Brady may very well continue to press his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, but it’s unlikely the court will waste its time on this nonsense. This entire saga has been blown out of proportion, and now it’s just plain silly. Brady should stop pouting, and just serve the suspension and move on.