Is Punishment Phase for “Deflategate” too Severe?
It appears to me that the lid was blown off the months of secrecy that followed the incident where the Indianapolis Colts blew the whistle on the New England Patriots, accusing some employees in their organization of letting air out of the game balls after the NFL checked them to insure they were inflated properly before the game.
This occurred prior to the kickoff of the AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA. between the Patriots and the Colts.
Actually the Indianapolis front office had been complaining that this practice had been going on for quite some time, but nobody paid much attention to the accusation.
But a game ball was confiscated just before halftime by an Indianapolis employee, checked out and was found to be more than one pound below the league’s specifications.
The NFL announced that it would look into the matter and issue a report of their findings from the investigation.
Last week the NFL released the report of its investigation of 243 pages, which, incidentally, was lengthier than the number of pages devoted to the My Lai Massacre investigation, according to NBC Sports reporter Joe Posnanski.
One of the most-asked questions by the media was why the NFL even permitted teams to control their own footballs after they have initially been inspected and approved by the league officials. The rules committee should jump on this controversy the next time it meets before next season.
Many Patriots players, employees and fans are defending quarterback Tom Brady, claiming the report was not definitive.
But an excerpt of the report states, “It is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules.
“It is also our view that it is more probable than not that Tom Brady…was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities,” the report concluded.
According to an article on the subject that appeared in Sunday’s edition of The Houston Chronicle, “Those findings might not overcome the reasonable doubt standards in a court of law. But the court of public opinion also should weigh the report’s claims that neither the Patriots nor Brady fully cooperated with the investigation.”
But in the eyes of many NFL fans Brady had to know what was happening to those softer-feeling footballs he was using in the games.
And this alone put the NFL in a precarious position—the league could not turn its back on the situation after compiling a detailed 243-page report for the other 31 teams to scrutinize and then not dole out ANY punishment for the misdeed.
If the league didn’t want to weaken one of its best franchises by suspending Brady for a portion of the 2015 NFL season it may not have been thinking clearly when the New England quarterback was indeed suspended for the first four games of the upcoming season Monday afternoon.
Monday’s punishment suspending Brady without pay for the first four games of the season– Pittsburgh, at Buffalo, Jacksonville and at Dallas—was for “conduct detrimental to the NFL.”
In addition, the Patriots were fined one million dollars by the league office and must forfeit a No. 1 draft pick in 2016 and a No. 4 draft pick in 2017.
The punishment will be particularly interesting to the New Orleans Saints’ organization and their loyal fans.
After all, their “Bounty-gate” that occurred a few years ago expelled the New Orleans Saints’ defensive coordinator from the league indefinitely and suspended head coach Sean Payton for the entire next season, in addition to suspending and fining some of the players who collected the bounties for injuring earmarked opponents.
Payton was suspended one year for not having better control over his players after claiming he knew nothing of the alleged bounties on opposing players.
Does that sound familiar? That’s exactly the same song-and-dance we’re hearing from New England head coach Bill Belichick—that he had no knowledge of the deflated football situation.
And NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who is personal friends with Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft, failed to mention any punishment for Belichick.
This should really get the Crescent City up in arms!!!
KWICKIES…The second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown takes place when the one-and-3/16 mile Preakness Stakes runs Saturday at Pimlico in Baltimore. Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah is also the favorite for this event and could take another step toward racing’s first Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978. But American Pharoah should be challenged once again by stable-mate Dortmund, who was third in the Derby, and runner-up Firing Line, who he barely beat by a length. I’m putting all three of those horses in my exacta and trifecta and hope they come through for me again.
A follow-up on my grandson Logan Smith’s Hudson High baseball team is that they won in the first round of the state playoffs—blanking Rusk 2-0, losing the second game 4-2 and then shutting them out 5-0 Saturday afternoon. The Hornets move on to the next round and will play Lorena there Thursday at 7 p.m., in Hudson Friday also at 7 and if necessary 5 p.m. Saturday at A&M Consolidated.
And while on the subject of the Hudson Hornets’ baseball team, their former star first baseman Brandon Belt, after getting off to a real slow April with the defending World Champion San Francisco Giants, collected six hits last weekend and brought his batting average up to .306 through Sunday’s game.
Congrats to the West Orange-Stark Mustangs baseball team for advancing out of the first round of the state playoffs for the first time since 2010 by sweeping Splendora 9-2 and 13-2. But things don’t get any easier for the ‘Stangs as they await their next opponent, Navasota, which pounded Houston Furr in the first round 18-2 and 15-0.
The good news is that the Lamar baseball team snapped their ugly eight-game losing streak with a 10-inning 9-8 victory over Stephen F. Austin Sunday. But the bad news is that by losing the first two games of the series to the Lumberjacks Friday and Saturday, the Cardinals were eliminated from the postseason Southland Conference tournament that involves the top eight teams in the conference. The Redbirds enter the final SLC series of the season Thursday night at Sam Houston State this weekend with a 9-18 record in league play and 20-30 overall. Lack of timely hitting seems to be the main reason for the Big Red’s comparatively poor season.
By the time this Korner hits the streets Wednesday, the Houston Rockets could already be eliminated from the NBA playoffs. The Rockets went into Tuesday night’s home game against the Clippers down 3-1 in the best-of-seven series after being blown out 128-95 Sunday night in Los Angeles. Enuff said!!!
Mike Leach’s appeal in a lawsuit over his firing by Texas Tech in 2009 was denied by the Texas Supreme Court last week. The school dismissed Leach amid accusations he mistreated a player suffering a concussion. The player was the son of Craig James, a broadcaster with ESPN. Leach sued James, ESPN and public relations firm Spaeth Communications, alleging libel and slander, but a Texas judge in 2013 granted summary judgment in favor of James, ESPN and Spaeth.
When the Houston Astros dropped a 3-1 decision to the LA Angels, it marked the first time in five games this season that they didn’t win on a Sunday. Although the Astros lost five of their last seven games, they went into Tuesday’s game at San Francisco still leading the AL West by five games with a 20-12 record.
JUST BETWEEN US…How ironic. An anonymous player survey released during Sunday’s final round of The Players Championship Tournament played at the TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. rated Rickie Fowler as the PGA Tour’s most over-rated player. Fowler combated that misnomer with the greatest finish in the 34-year history of the TPC Sawgrass, coming from five strokes off the lead to fire six-under par on the final six holes to finish regulation play 12-under par and a two-stroke lead at the time. But several golfers were still on the course, including early-round leader Sergio Garcia, who blew a two-stroke lead but then made two birdies to tie Fowler and unheralded Kevin Kisner and force a Three-hole Aggregate Playoff. Sergio shot even par on the three extra holes and was eliminated while Fowler and Kisner were tied at one-under par and had to play sudden-death starting on the Par-3 No. 17 hole. Fowler birdied that hole for the third time that day to win the prestigious tournament and made those who drafted the survey eat crow.