05/12/15 by Matthew S. Vandriak
So the NFL has dropped the hammer on the New England Patriots and found the team and Tom Brady guilty as charged. Yes, after the findings of the Wells Report came out, the slap on the wrist many expected turned out to me more like a roundhouse kick to the face.
Brady was suspended for the first 4 games of the upcoming NFL season. The Patriots will lose a first round draft pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, and a 4th round pick in 2017. The team was also fined $1 million dollars. The two equipment managers who were implicated as being responsible for "Deflate Gate" have also been suspended indefinitely.
Now the backlash from the Patriots personnel is coming against the NFL. Owner Robert Kraft had previously criticized the findings in the Wells Report. Now Kraft is also saying the punishment "exceeded any reasonable explanation" and that the investigation was built on circumstantial evidence instead of conclusive evidence. Tom Brady's agent, Don Yee called the punishment "ridiculous", adding that the Wells Report had "no legitimate basis". Yee also said Brady will appeal the suspension.
Prior to the findings of the Wells Report, Robert Kraft criticized the NFL's original investigation into whether the Patriots doctored the footballs used in the AFC Championship Game. He said the report would clear the Patriots and Tom Brady of any wrong doing. That wasn't the case.
Now the question is, was this the first and/or only time the Patriots doctored footballs? NFL Vice President Troy Vincent stated that the deflating of the balls probably started much earlier than the AFC title game. Remember, the Patriots were also punished for their role in "Spy Gate" in 2007. The team was fined $500,000 and lost a 1st round draft pick. Coach Bill Belichick was also fined $250,000 for his role in the video taping of opposing coaches in an effort to decipher their play calling.
The sad thing is, the Patriots didn't need to deflate anything to beat Indianapolis in the AFC Championship. Brady has said that the accusations and investigation into "Deflate Gate" does not take away from the Patriots winning the Super Bowl and that the team earned their championship. But if they were using under inflated or doctored footballs prior to the AFC Championship, did it make a difference in the outcome of prior games? Would the Patriots have gotten as far as they did without the doctored balls?
So now it's another championship season for the Patriots with controversy attached to it. This has to be embarrassing to the Patriots and their fans. But they definitely made the late Eddie Guerrero proud. His saying always was "if you aren't cheating, you aren't trying". And according to the findings of the Wells Report and the NFL's subsequent action, when it comes to cheating, the Patriots are guilty as charged.
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