The Deflategate saga between the New England Patriots and the NFL has taken life once again in recent weeks, as the NFL has brought the case in front of a second circuit federal appeals court. Beginning originally on January 18, 2015 following the AFC Championship game between the Colts and the Patriots, the case has yet to be resolved as the NFL attempts to overturn the courts initial decision to rescind Brady’s four game suspension, which was originally handed down by the NFL before the start of the season. The court’s decision to overturn the NFL’s decision came as a result of the NFL league counselor pursuing legal action in order to confirm the initial decision handed down by Goodell, which ended up not working in the NFL’s favor. District Judge Richard Berman chose not to confirm the suspension and ended up vacating Brady’s suspension entirely. With the NFL re-attempting the case it now allows Goodell and the owners to essentially reaffirm their authority in being able to have what can be perceived as detrimental control over the future of the Patriots franchise due to a matter as simple as partially deflated footballs. The investigation blew up the way it did solely because of the NFL’s decision to treat the case as conduct detrimental to the league rather than an equipment violation. This is what also led to the patriots receiving a $1,000,000 fine instead of the $25,000 fine that comes as a minimum for an equipment violation.
Additionally, one of the more serious punishments handed down by the NFL was the removal of the Patriots 2016 1st and 2017 4th round pick, in which even at recent meetings the owners chose not to consider reinstating these draft picks. Moreover, Patriots owner Robert Kraft in a second attempt to have the draft picks reinstated wrote a direct letter to Roger Goodell, which ended up being rejected as well. Based on the overall length of the Deflategate saga, one can also perceive that the extensive efforts taken by the league to stand its ground against the patriot’s organization is a way for the owners to potentially affect the future success of the patriots with the franchise being on the losing side of theses various disagreements. It is also very evident based on recent information that Roger Goodell isn’t necessarily the main problem that the Patriots franchise is concerned with. Being the face of the owners, he has been able to absorb most of the negative attention that stems from the scandal leaving the owners with little bad publicity, and leaving Tom Brady as the main target in the back and forth as the main conflict lies between the Patriots and the owners. If the team owners wanted Goodell to end Deflategate, he would have ended Deflategate long ago, but the owners do not want it to end without the patriots receiving all of the punishments handed down by the league. Being pushed by the owners Goodell has essentially led an issue that has endangered the NFL’s disciplinary process solely to have Brady own up to a violation publicly in which there was little to no direct evidence linking his involvement with the deflated footballs.
Many have called to question the tactics used by the NFL’s attorney during the Deflategate case, making various factually untrue statements to the three-judge panel in New York. Robert Blecker, a New York Law school professor went on to back these claims by essentially pointing out some of the factually incorrect data that the NFL used as evidence to make their case. These statements include the NFL arguing that there were various text messages during the 2014 season that mentioned Jim McNally being the deflator of the footballs in multiple conversations when in actuality the term deflator was only used once. In another instance the NFL made the case that 11 of the patriot’s footballs were measured to be below the permitted limit while the Colts footballs were within the allowed range for at least one of the pressure gauges. One independent AEI study found that due to the argument’s inability to account for the element of time, that the specific evidence was in fact very misleading. These flaws that are present within the leagues investigation of Deflategate only aid in exacerbating just how biased and unjust the investigation was. Providing the public with an inaccurate perception of the Patriots Organization as a result of the wrongdoing of the NFL and its representatives.
There has also been speculation, that the reason for the leagues motive to have the Patriots organization punished so severely is due to the perception that Goodell gave them a break during the Spygate scandal. In which the Patriots had illegally videotaped the offensive and defensive signals of multiple NFL teams in 2007. During the Spygate case it investigations also found that Goodell in efforts to have the scandal not be taken under congressional investigation, had destroyed the tapes and notes that could have been used as evidence. The Spygate case shows how the NFL owners who felt as if they had been cheated by the league in the past by Goodell and the Patriots, felt that the Deflategate scandal was the most opportune time to get back at the franchise. Lastly, with the saga seeming to have no immediate end within the near future, it seems as if Roger Goodell and the owners will not stop pursuing discipline for the patriots and Tom Brady and will do so by any means.
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ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2016. <http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/13533995/split-nfl-new-england-patriots- apart>. “NFL Lawyer Intentionally Misled DeflateGate Judges, New Letter To Court Alleges.” CBS Boston. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2016. <http://boston.cbslocal.com/2016/03/21/nfl-lawyer-intentionally-misled- deflategate-judges-new-letter-to-court-alleges/>.
“NFL Lawyer Intentionally Misled DeflateGate Judges, New Letter To Court Alleges.” CBS Boston. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2016. <http://boston.cbslocal.com/2016/03/21/nfl-lawyer-intentionally-misled- deflategate-judges-new-letter-to-court-alle