If NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was looking for the most effective way to anger his players, discredit himself, and show just how foolish the NFL’s disciplinary system is, “deflategate” was the way to go.
Remember back in January of last year’s NFL season, when the Patriots organization was accused of deflating footballs in the AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts?
It definitely seems as if things have changed since then, and you would be right. There’s no going back for Goodell after this one.
For starters, the whole fiasco started as an investigation into the Patriots organization after they were accused of letting air out of footballs before a key playoff game. Granted, New England has had a bit of history when it comes to under-handed tactics in the effort to win games, but Goodell really let this one get out of hand.
What once began as a Patriots investigation soon became a Tom Brady investigation, and what once was a Tom Brady investigation soon became an unnecessary amount of disciplinary muscle-flexing from Goodell’s office.
The NFL definitely could have taken action when the Baltimore Ravens organization brought concerns to Goodell that the Patriots had been tampering with footballs. They chose not to, which was their first mistake.
Their second mistake was then scrambling to punish the Patriots after the Colts complained about the same thing the following week. At that point, Goodell had to cover his incompetent handling of the first complaint by completely overreacting to the second one.
What could’ve been a straightforward investigation into the matter with an appropriate punishment, the NFL opted to leak information regarding the deflating of the footballs without any evidence to back it up in an effort to give the appearance of doing something about it.
Then there’s the trial. No matter how much or how little evidence is stacked against Brady and the Patriots, Goodell has made one thing very clear to his players and the general public: Goodell’s arbitrary disciplinary system trumps all.
Despite the fact that the investigation was originally directed at Brady and the Patriots regarding the alleged violation of equipment regulations, the court proceedings have now completely switched course towards
establishing that Roger Goodell can issue whatever punishment he wants for whatever offense he wants, and no one can say anything about it.
Not only does this highly questionable punishment system raise questions regarding this particular case and how it’s being handled, it also raises questions about other serious disciplinary issues within the NFL such as domestic violence and drug use.
All in all, no matter what Goodell’s final ruling on the case is, it will definitely be riddled with ridicule and controversy. What else could possibly happen? Would it not have been so much easier to give Brady a one-game suspension for being evasive during this whole ordeal?
One thing is for sure though. No matter what happens, Goodell and the NFL is making a ton of money off of this whole thing.
Maybe that was his plan all along.