Tom Brady Scowls

“Goodell somehow emerged from a Rice mess that caused the league all manner of shame to…announce” he has “more power to punish”. – Dan Le Batard

In a move which surprised no one recently, Roger Goodell upheld the 4-game suspension of Tom Brady today. Since Goodell suspended Brady in the first place, the NFL commissioner’s opinion was not changed by the face-to-face with Brady in late-June 2015.

Instead, Roger Goodell released a statement which suggested Tom Brady had hidden evidence and therefore deserved no leniency. It was a personal attack in a controversy which has become very personal. To most media observers and legal experts, Deflategate appears headed to court.

Court cases are becoming a more common theme in the NFL, after New Orleans Saints players, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, and Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy all took the NFL to court–and won. NFL players see Roger Goodell as out-of-control and tyrannical, and the court system sees him as overstepping his authority time-after-time. As far as NFL justice goes, perception seems to meet reality a lot in the US court system these days.

Roger Goodell Is a Blight on Football

Something is terribly wrong with the NFL, and that thing’s name is Roger Goodell. I’m convinced Roger Goodell is leading the National Football League towards a decline, if not a collapse.

We don’t see it, because the league appears to be at the height of its prestige and popularity. No doubt, the TV contracts are bigger than ever. The fan base is larger. The NFL’s penetration of the television market is more complete, with games on five different networks: CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN, and NFL Network. Heck, for a game or two in the playoffs, ESPN broadcasters show their games on ABC. It’s a clean sweep.

Growth in Spite of Goodell, Not Because of Him

People naturally give the leader credit when an organization prospers, but does anyone seriously think the NFL is growing because of Roger Goodell? I’ve heard NFL owners say that, but they also have to deal with Roger Goodell’s decisions over the next four years. You might as well ask a captive hostage whether they’re being treated well.

The fact in favor of Roger Goodell are significant. With broadcast supremacy, the NFL has more money than ever. But cracks in the foundation are appearing. The concussion issue will not go away. The fan base has grown largely because of the 50 million Americans who play fantasy sports, including the 40 million who play fantasy football. The interest level in televised games also owes a lot to that hobby. But at the heart of it all, the NFL is starting to have a credibility gap.

The fact the NFL is seen everywhere only brings the collapse closer. Familiarity breeds contempt. While the NHL was imploding and scandals rocked the NBA and (especially) Major League Baseball, the NFL in years past flew under the radar screen. The most violent league with the most ruthless ownership received a pass, eventually becoming known as the Teflon League.

Roger Goodell Looking Stern

Goodell Claimed It Was Illegal to Obtain the Ray Rice Tape from Revel Casino, a Contention Soon Proven False

Perceptions of the NFL Have Changed

In a way, being the Teflon League was a product of happenstance. Baseball, basketball, and hockey have large numbers of games every year. Devoted fans become very tuned-in to their teams, and thus to those teams’ leagues. The NFL has a 16-game schedule. Casual fans can watch 16 days a year–maybe 2-4 more times if your team gets in the playoffs–then wander off to some other hobby or form of entertainment. The NFL is a TV sport built to attract casual viewers.

In a way, the Teflon title was a matter of leadership. Pete Rozelle and, after him, Paul Tagliabue, made sure the players were the face of the league. Both men took a back seat, only becoming part of the story when a labor negotiation took place, Al Davis sued the league, or it was time to hand out a Super Bowl trophy.

“Revolution is like Saturn. It devours its own children.”

The same cannot be said about Roger Goodell. Almost from day one, he made himself a part of the story. Roger Goodell wanted people to know he was a new sheriff in town and he would run the NFL from a position of high authority.

In retrospect, Roger Goodell was indicting the previous commissioners of the NFL in changing enforcement the way he did. We didn’t see it that way, but Goodell essentially was saying his fellow commissioners didn’t do enough to control player conduct. He was saying that he would show how a strong commissioner could clean up the sport, while Tagliabue and Rozelle coddled players. It would be a revolution from above, led by the reformer, Roger Goodell.

But people get hurt in revolutions.

Like President Xi Jinping in China, Roger Goodell anti-corruption campaign was quite popular from the start. With a segment of the population…a big section…he was seen as strong and decisive. Goodell showed the rich, pampered athletes that they did have a higher authority to consider. In doing so, he was supposed to reform the NFL. In fact, he’s only highlighted the corruption, gathered personal power for himself, and led the league into a cycle of constant crisis.

Roger Goodell’s reign has been one of crisis and conflict. The Deflate-Gate Saga is simply the starkest and most bizarre example of that.

The last 10 years has seen the NFL become, like Major League Baseball, move from one crisis to another. Goodell made it so, inserting himself in every legal case, handing out fines and suspensions anytime a player’s personal life hit the newspapers.

These suspensions were handed down before a case ever went to trial, always with an eye towards public perception. By handling his business that way, Roger Goodell became a big part of the NFL’s news coverage. Anytime something happened, the question would be what Roger Goodell’s reaction would be. It was expected he would act quickly, or react quickly. The many suspensions and the need for a quick public reaction was bound to blow up in his face. In his rush to judgment in the Ray Rice case, the inevitable happened. Goodell was wrong-footed in the Ray Rice case and never regained his balance.

To try to reestablish his authority, I argue he picked the Tom Brady Deflategate case to set a new example. But, once again, in his rush to judgment and his need to run a league based on public relations, he’s gotten himself in a quagmire. In doing so, he’s alienated his base of support: key NFL owners like Robert Kraft.

Media Opinions on Deflategate

When the Wells Report came out,  Slate Magazine called the NFL a “kangaroo court” and described the punishment in the case as “outlandish”.

The Washington Post said Roger Goodell tried to use Deflategate to restore his authority, but instead undermined his credibility.

Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post wrote, “NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell predetermined guilt in DeflateGate; that’s clear now. He has smeared Tom Brady and the New England Patriots without proper evidence or a competent investigation and turned an unimportant misdemeanor into a damaging scandal as part of a personal power play to shore up his flagging authority. In other cases, he just looked inept. In this one, he looks devious.

Exponent’s Data Called into Question

Dwayne Allen of the Colts Said, "They could have played with soap for balls and beat us."

Dwayne Allen of the Colts Said, “They could have played with soap for balls and beat us.”

Media members pointed out that a key analyzer of data, Exponent Inc., has a reputation as a “corporate merc” which skews results to help its clients.

In an unrelated story, the Los Angeles times once said of Exponent, “The California engineering firm is known for helping big corporations weather messy disputes.

Minuscule Advantage to Deflating Balls

They also pointed out that there is no consensus about whether deflating balls gives an advantage. For instance, Aaron Rodgers says he wants balls inflated as high as possible, because it keeps the spiral tighter and makes it sail through the air truer and faster. While Brady might be able to grip the ball better with them deflated, the ball is harder to catch and is more prone to wobbling.

John Brenkus of ESPN’s Sports Science tested regulation NFL footballs and determined “based on our analysis, under-inflated balls had a minuscule effect on any given play“.

Brenkus said, “We used our custom Tekscan pressure sensored gloves to measure how much force I could exert on a regulation ball and a slightly under-inflated one. We also measured how much I could compress each ball to see how my grip was affected for both receiving and throwing.

In a scientific analysis, the advantage given by balls with 11 pounds of air as opposed to 12 pounds of air was minuscule. He and his people could tell no difference in the grip of the ball or the ease of catching it. In short, no one has any real clue whether underinflated balls gave Tom Brady and the New England Patriots an advantage. While NFL teams should not break with league policies under any circumstances, no one is certain why the NFL came down with such a severe punishment in the Deflategate scandal.

Shoddy History on Ball Inflation

The NFL also has a spotty history when it comes to overseeing the inflation of footballs. Prior to Deflategate, the NFL had shown no interest in getting this process right. It only has a rule that balls should be inflated between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds of air. Yet the league’s officials do not follow their own rules.

Throughout this process, the only time it has been shown that Tom Brady took an active role in the inflation of his team’s football is when the Patriots played the Jets. The NFL referees for the game that day inflated the balls to 16 PSI–well beyond the league-mandated rules. Electronic information shows that Tom Brady became irate at the greatly-inflated balls, but in that case, he was right. The NFL officials were in violation of their own rules–and in a much more extreme fashion than Brady is accused of being.

That is why the NFL is going to have a tough time inside a court room, which is where this appears to be headed. Prior to the current case, the NFL showed no interest in the inflated ball rule. They were not consistent and seemed not to care whether their own officials followed the rules. Suddenly, in this one case, the rule is so inviolate that the league feels like it needs to take $1 million, a 1st-round pick, and a 4th-round pick.

Goodell’s Shady Way of Doing Business

Something has changed in the Deflategate case. Those wanting to defend Tom Brady and the New England Patriots would say it is the commissioner’s need to look “presidential” and get the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson scandals in the past. As the theory goes, the NFL wanted to get the real scandals behind it, so the commissioner trumped up a new, fake scandal to distract the public. In doing so, the commission was blindsided by the reaction from the Patriots, who actually take this seriously.

Multiple sources also found the NFL commissioner’s decision to render a verdict and then oversee the appeal is bizarre. Few other legitimate organizations would set up such a process. Multiple sources have said Roger Goodell admires former NBA commissioner David Stern and wants to pattern his reign along the lines of Stern’s. Yet David Stern was smart enough to have a junior executive hand out suspensions, then save the appeals process for himself. Goodell can’t seem to understand that seeing the case and the appeal undermines his legitimacy. One gets the idea he values total control of the process over a process which confers legitimacy, though.

ESPN Support’s Roger Goodell

That is not to say the NFL front office has no supporters. ESPN, a key partner of the NFL, came out in full support of Roger Goodell today. If you read nothing but ESPN, you would think Tom Brady doesn’t have a ghost of a chance and he is crazy to go against Roger Goodell’s wise decisions.

When I looked at the ESPN website today, the top three stories either blamed Tom Brady for the entire crisis or suggested he had almost zero chance to succeed in a trial. The legal expert even claimed the NFL had a good history in federal lawsuits, despite the Saints, Adrian Peterson, or Greg Hardy.

Jackie MacMullen wrote an article today titled “Tom Brady Needs to Drop It, Move On“. Ian O’Connor wrote a piece caled “Patriots QB Tom Brady Has Only Himself to Blame“. Legal analyst Lester Munson penned an article called “Brady, NFLPA Likely to Come Up Short in Federal Court Challenge“.

I should give the writers a bit of a break, because their headlines were written by a (biased) editor and not them. Jackie MacMullen criticized Goodell fairly heavily, but her editor wrote a misleading headline–something fans often complain about with ESPN. Ian O’Connor was a little more scathing of Tom Brady, while Lester Munson was effusive towards Roger Goodell.

Lester Munson, who is described as ESPN’s legal analyst, actually wrote the sentence: “Goodell, in a brilliant passage in his masterly opinion, explained that the frantic calls in the three days after the game showed that Brady ‘was undermining efforts by game officials to ensure compliance with league rules.‘”

I’m pretty sure that Roger Goodell’s lawyers probably wrote the 20-page legal opinion, so it’s a bit disingenuous to describe the report as “Goodell’s mastery opinion”. I also think the use of the words “brilliant” and “masterly” are a bit two much, given they came within a 5-word sequence. A quick web search of Lester Munson’s career shows he has not practiced law since 1989 and he only became a sports writer in 1991 when he was facing disbarrment. One also can find he has been very wrong about a number of high-profile sports cases in recent years. Several news sources have questioned Lester Munson and called him out for his mistaken opinions in the past.

The point being, Roger Goodell is always going to have media members who will defend him. The NFL is the most powerful sports league in America, so it is smart to stay on the NFL’s good side. Also, Roger Goodell has learned many tricks in his 10 years as NFL commissioner. Only a year ago, he was seen as a hero by most NFL fans. His mishandling of the Ray Rice case produced a sea change, but one shouldn’t forget that chance happened only recently. Many sports fans–in fact, many sports writers–still haven’t caught on to public sentiment.

Ted Wells Still Investigating DeflateGate

Ted Wells Found Tom Brady Was “Probably” Guilty, Based on a “Preponderance of the Evidence”.

The Wells Report

Once tabbed by The Daily Beast as the Scandal Guru, Ted Wells was a natural choice for the Tom Brady investigation. Wells had handled the Richie Incognito investigation and was given high marks in that case, where he established a pattern of bullying in the Miami Dolphins locker room. The NFL hired Ted Wells to investigate Deflategate and make a report.

Wells made a 254-page report on the incident, eventually finding that “more probable than not” that the New England Patriots’s staff illegally underinflated footballs in the January 18 AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts. Ted Wells also wrote that Brady was “generally aware” of the Patriots’s efforts to (probably) deflate balls in previous games. After he published the Wells Report, the high-priced lawyer’s methods were attacked in the sports media–especially in the New England sports media.

Ted Wells Gets Defensive in a Conference Call

Ted Wells gave a conference call with Boston-area reporters the day after the Wells Report was published. In the conference call, Ted Wells sounded defensive. In fact, he stated this was the first time he had ever given a conference call in the wake of a published report. When asked why he had changed his policy, Wells said it was in response to the Patriots’ accusation that he was biased, due to the work his firm does for the NFL. The Patriots implied he had financial reasons to side with the NFL, and thus it was not an independent report.

Wells was grilled by reporters about his connections to the NFL and the millions-upon-millions of dollars his law firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, “We’ve made a fair and reasonable review of the evidence and we reached conclusions based on the preponderance of the evidence standard, which I was required to apply based on the league’s rules.”

Ted Wells continued, “To the extent Mr. Yee is suggesting that I have some type of conflict because I in my law firm do other work for the NFL, I want to be clear that it is well known that I work for the NFL and the Miami Dolphins investigation involving Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito and also that my law firm is involved in representing the NFL in the concussion cases. Those facts were all publicly known at the time I was appointed.

At a later point in the conference call, Wells added, “Let’s put it like this, I totally reject any suggestion that I was not independent or the report in some way was slanted to reach a particular result. So I reject all of that.

Preponderance of the Evidence

People should know what the legal standard Ted Wells used. The news media sometimes used oft-quoted legal standards like “beyond a reasonable doubt” and “probable cause”* to describe the case, but neither of those applies. “Beyond a reasonable doubt” is used in criminal cases and implies a high standard. Jurors are asked to evaluate whether the prosecutors proved their case beyond a “reasonable doubt”. Obviously, one could never prove beyond doubt, because jurors did not see a crime happened, but if it would be reasonable to have doubts, then they cannot convict.

Instead, Ted Wells used a “preponderance of the evidence” to determine Tom Brady “probably” was guilty. A preponderance of the evidence is used in civil cases and has a much lower threshold than a reasonable doubt. Think of the O.J. Simpson murder trial, where jurors said they could not convict, because OJ’s defense team had provided reasonable doubt. In the civil case, the Brown Family proved that a preponderence of the evidence showed OJ Simpson had committed murder. That is the standard Ted Wells used, and was asked to use by the NFL.

As Ted Wells said in his conference call, “They wanted me to get to the bottom of the facts and all of this discussion someway that people at the league office wanted to put some type of hit on the most popular, iconic player in the league, the real face of the league, it just doesn’t make any sense.

In an emotional reply to the reporters on the call, Ted Wells said, “That’s really a ridiculous allegation. What drove the decision in this report was one thing: it was the evidence. and I could not ethically ignore the import and relevancy of those text messages and the other evidence.

Tom Brady Appearing a NFL Hearing

Brady Is Likely to Appeal to Court, As He Believes Deflategate Is an Attack on His Legacy

Brady Accused of Destroying Evidence

In upholding his original ruling in the appeals process this week, Roger Goodell said Tom Brady had not cooperated with the investigation. Ted Wells said in his conference call that Tom Brady had cooperated in every way, though he had declined to turn over his cellphone information to the investigators. Wells said that he had told Don Yee (Brady’s lawyer) he would let Yee inspect Brady’s cellphone, then ask him to relay any pertinent information. Thus, he would take Don Yee at his word of honor as a lawyer, who has professional standards to uphold. Instead, Tom Brady and Don Yee refused to use that process to turn over information.

Roger Goodell, in a press release on July 28, 2015, characterized that interaction as a 100% refusal to cooperate.

In a carefully worded statement, the NFL front office said, “Brady directed that the cell phone he had used for the prior four months be destroyed. He did so even though he was aware that the investigators had requested access to text messages and other electronic information that had been stored on that phone.

That makes it look like Tom Brady had destroyed evidence just prior to his interview with Ted Wells. Despite presenting a 254-report and giving long answers at a press conference, though, Ted Wells never claimed that Brady destroyed his smartphone on the day before he talked to Wells. That isn’t to say the NFL’s press release is wrong, but it would be nice to know how the NFL got that information.

Was it revealed when Tom Brady met with Roger Goodell during the appeals process?

That would be the implication, but the NFL gives precious little evidence. All it does is state the accusation as a fact. I’d be interested to know whether Tom Brady and the Patriots contradict that portrayal of events.

Tom Brady Calls Goodell a Liar

One day later, we know whether Brady will contradict Goodell. On his Facebook page one day after Roger Goodell claimed the New England quarterback destroyed his phone to withhold evidence, Tom Brady contradicted the commissioner.

Brady posted, “I replaced my broken Samsung phone with a new iPhone 6 AFTER my attorneys made it clear to the NFL that my actual phone device would not be subjected to investigation under ANY circumstances. To suggest that I destroyed a phone to avoid giving the NFL information it requested is completely wrong.

A lot of NFL fans and/or Patriots haters have pointed to the two statements as evidence Tom Brady is lying. I entirely disagree with that assessment, because the commissioner’s version of the story doesn’t make sense. I think we can all agree Tom Brady hired damned good lawyers. His legal team would have told him early on he did not have to turn over his cellphone to the NFL. If that was the case, then there was no reason for him to destroy his cellphone.

The contention Brady destroyed his Samsung phone is a bold-faced lie. It simply does not stand to reason.

Common sense says it’s a lie. Basic common knowledge of texting suggests there is no reason to destroy one’s cellphone. Those texts went over a cellular tower. Whatever texts were sent were received by the other men in the investigation. Redundancies abound, if the NFL had the right to see Brady’s texts. All destroying one’s smartphone would do is make one look even worse, when the truth came out.

If the league had the ability to get the texts, then they could have gotten that information from Jim McNally or John Jastremski and destroying Brady’s phone would not have helped. Or they could have collected that information from Brady’s cellular provider.

If the league does not have the ability to get the texts, then there is no reason for Tom Brady to destroy his cellphone. In both cases, Brady would have been told by his counsel this fact. If the star quarterback was so intent on covering up his wrongdoing that he was orchestrating a cover-up, then this man we all know for being thorough in his preparation would have gotten the facts from his lawyers and realized destroying his phone was useless–even stupid.

Again, it makes no sense that Tom Brady destroyed his phone.

The aforementioned Ian O’Connor came to the same conclusion, which is why he wrote in an article that Brady’s decision to destroy his phone was stupid. That would be correct, if it were the truth. O’Connor assumes a lot, or better put, he believes Roger Goodell at his word.

I don’t.

Roger Goodell has proven himself to be a casual liar in the past. For instance, when the inside-the-elevator Ray Rice video was released to the world by TMZ, Goodell claimed he was shocked by what he saw. He also suggested Ray Rice lied to him about what happened inside the elevator. There is a very clear record that Roger Goodell knew Ray Rice knocked out Janay Palmer before Goodell suspended Rice for two games. We all knew that to be the case. Nobody paying attention to the case had any illusions about that.

So Roger Goodell has a history of misleading the public about what was said and when it was said. He simply does. You might think Tom Brady is capable of destroying evidence, but I contend he has a record of being smarter than that. In my mind, it is a lot more likely that Roger Goodell is going to provide a misleading statement than Tom Brady is going to do something patently self-defeating.

Making It Personal

Whoever is at fault, the Deflategate Scandal has gotten personal. Tom Brady sees the NFL trying to ruin his legacy after he’s been a poster boy for the league these past 15 seasons. Robert Kraft sees Deflategate as a personal betrayal, after he helped save Goodell’s job last year when the public wanted him to resign over the Ray Rice incident. Roger Goodell implied Tom Brady destroyed evidence to avoid justice.

Meanwhile, both sides are said to be negotiating a compromise case. Reports suggest there is no middle ground. Tom Brady does not appear as if he’ll settle for a 1-game or 2-game suspension, because it would be an admission he cheated. Goodell does not seem too interested in discussing new terms, because his personal reputation is on the line. It appears to many observers the Deflategate suspension case is going to a courtroom.

If Goodell loses another courtroom battle–as he did in the Saint’s Bountygate and the Adrian Peterson case–it is going to further undermine the NFL’s integrity. With key owners like Robert Kraft no longer supporting him, the coming legal case might be a pivotal moment in Goodell’s career. After the 2010 Lockout was resolved, NFL owners extended Roger Goodell’s contract to run through March 2019. With the damage Goodell has done to the NFL’s brand in the years since, I tend to wonder if he will be extended beyond that point. Of course, that is four more years as the commissioner at $40 million a year, so he’s on the books to pocket another $160 million in his term of office.

With at least four more years under the Goodell regime, most league owners are likely to keep quiet for the time being. They cannot be happy with Roger Goodell’s performance this past year, despite talk that he’s there to “protect the badge” and take shots on behalf of the league itself. At a point, Roger Goodell is so inextricably linked to the NFL that his reputation clouds the NFL’s reputation. He’s spoiled goods and that spoilage might spread to the NFL brand. The league once was seen as the Teflon League, but that was under Paul Tagliabue and Pete Rozelle. It’s the Teflon League no more.

The Mueller Report

For instance, when former FBI Director Robert Mueller led a four-month independent investigation the Ray Rice incident, he asked Roger Goodell for cellphone records to prove league officials knew nothing about the Ray Rice tape prior to its release by TMZ.

Roger Goodell declined give up his cellphone in the Mueller investigation. It was his right not to provide that evidence, just as it is Tom Brady’s right not to provide his texts in the Wells investigation. The Goodell texts would have proven beyond a doubt the highest-ranking NFL executive had no knowledge of the Ray Rice knockout video before it was released to the world on TMZ, as the NFL claimed. Not providing that information left questions.

The same can be said about Tom Brady not giving up his cellphone records and destroying his phone. He could have proven he did not interact with the Jim McNally and John Jastremski through texts. Of course, it is hard to prove a negative. Those who tended to believe Brady was behind Deflategate would have said the texts only proved he didn’t use texts: that a smart conspirator would have given instructions off-the-record or used a third party to relay that information.

In truth, the real difference between Roger Goodell’s refusal in the Mueller investigation and Tom Brady’s refusal in the Wells investigation is the fact the NFL chose to use its power to bring the refusal into the forefront by releasing a public statement to smear Brady. The league once again finds that winning a public relations battle against one of its star players is most important. Six months after the scandal erupted, the public really isn’t sure whether deflating balls undermines the integrity of the game or not. Experts can’t seem to agree, yet the commissioner wants people to think he is protecting the integrity of the league by going after Brady.

Tom Brady’s Contention

Tom Brady’s reason for refusing to hand over his cellphone rests on the idea this investigation is bogus. The NFL turned a non-issue into an issue, because it wanted to deflect attention away from its botching of domestic abuse issues during the 2014. Roger Goodell faced serious questions about his uneven approach to the Ray Rice Scandal. The contention is he wanted to take the spotlight away from the Ray Rice scandal by cooking up a newer, less serious scandal which would show he was being a firm authority figure again. Thus, a minor case involving deflated balls became Deflategate.

Roger Goodell did not anticipate that Tom Brady would resent his attempt to destroy Brady’s reputation. When Brady showed he was intent on not serving even a one-game suspension, Goodell made Brady “the enemy”.

San Diego Chargers Stickem Scandal

On October 15, 2012, the San Diego Chargers used towels with stickem on them in a game against the Denver Broncos. This was the game they had a 24-0 lead at halftime, but went on to lose 35-24.

During the game, a staff member was directed by a referee to hand over the stickem towels to him. The Chargers claim the staff member did not know what the official was asking, but complied as soon as he did know.

The NFL investigated the event. It found the stickem towels, which would allow players to hold onto a football better than otherwise, did not constitute a violation of league policies. Despite that fact, the league gave the Chargers a $20,000 fine for not going along with the requests of league officials. Next, the league banned the stickem towels, making it illegal to use them on the sidelines. The NFL essentially said the Chargers did not gain an advantage by using the towels, but the towels were banned anyway. Also, the Chargers needed to be taught a lesson, but said the right things, so they were fined a minor amount.

Brett Favre Texting Scandal

Brett Favre Was Fined $50,000 for Refusing to Hand Over Texts, But Was Not Suspended Even One Game

Brett Favre Sexting Scandal

In December 2010, Brett Favre was fined for not cooperating in the sexting investigation. The investigation was meant to establish whether Brett Favre–then a New York Jets quarterback–had sent below-the-belt photos of himself to sideline reporter Jenn Sterger in 2008. Favre refused to cooperate with the NFL investigation in some respects, citing the extreme private nature of what was being asked. He did not give full testimony.

As Brett Favre’s final NFL game was set to be played on December 2009, the NFL announced a $50,000 fine. The timing of that fine seemed to be to overshadow Favre’s final game in the NFL with a scandal.

When he assessed the $50,000 fine, Roger Goodell released a statement saying Brett Favre was “not candid in several respects during the investigation resulting in a longer review and additional negative public attention for Favre, Sterger, and the NFL.

The NFL Took a Shot at Favre’s Morals

Just in case Brett Favre did not realize who was in charge, Goodell told him that, if he had found violations of the league policy, he would have imposed “[a] substantially higher level of discipline.

And as a parting shot, the league said it was enforcing workplace conduct policies, but it was not its goal to “make judgments about the appropriateness of personal relationships.

If it’s not the league’s policy to make judgments on the appropriateness of personal relationships, then why bring it up in the first place? The implication is that the league wanted to take a potshot at Favre, took that potshot, and then wanted to act like it was above such tactics.

Clearly, the NFL wanted to remind people that Favre had not cooperated properly, and used a press release to make a backhanded comment on his personal relationships. Brett Favre, who had come out of retirement on two previous occasions but had experienced a dismal season in 2010, declined to return to the National Football League after his 20th season.

Thus, Roger Goodell Is a Blight on the NFL

The Chargers and Favre cases show two things. One, they show that the Deflategate punishment is way out of bounds. The Patriots were fined 20 times the amount of parties in the Favre case, which involved a refusal to release cellphone information. The Deflategate fine was 50 times what it was in the Chargers case, which was an attempt to tamper with NFL equipment (through applying stickem to the balls indirectly). Roger Goodell’s fines have gotten completely out of control–not to mention inconsistent.

Two, they show that Roger Goodell tries to pay back those who defy him or criticize him. Brett Favre dared to tell Roger Goodell “No”, so the NFL tried to ruin the final game of Favre’s storied career in the NFL. Tom Brady dared to tell Roger Goodell “No”, so the NFL is trying to ruin Tom Brady’s legacy.

Deflategate and the Brett Favre scandal show one other thing: the NFL will cut off its nose to spite its own face. Roger Goodell has tried to ruin the legacy of his best players, all in his desire to show he’s the boss. Not only are his actions heavy-handed and obnoxious, but they’re stupid. He’s becoming the picture of the narcissistic manager.

Which is why Roger Goodell is a blight on the NFL.


*Footnote: “Probable cause” is a term police officers use in making a traffic stop or searching a premises. If they have probable cause to think a crime has been committed, then they have certain rights. Obviously, an investigator in Deflategate would not be using probable cause.