Forgiving Tom Brady

By Bob Hiller

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The news this week has been full of some pretty heavy stories: the derailing of the Amtrak train, another earthquake in Nepal and the military helicopter that has gone missing there. But none of this stands up to the earth-shattering news that Tom Brady may have… potentially… most likely cheated by playing with footballs he knew were deflated…maybe. This week the NFL slapped ol’ pretty boy Tom with a four-game suspension to start the 2015 season. As a result, the internet broke.

In light of the news, I just want to say thank God for ESPN and all those sports media outlets for assisting in the creation of stories that truly matter in our world. If not for them, we would never have the chance to adjust our eye-planks and see the moral evil that is “Deflate-gate.” (Ingeniously named, eh? Someone deserves a raise!) I mean, if not for the morality police on sports talk radio, devilish miscreants like Tom Brady would be slithering their way into Super Bowls and teaching our children that it is okay to cheat. Even the White House felt it necessary to remind us of our children’s ever-impressionable morality in this situation.

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So, of course, everyone has an opinion on how Brady should be punished for his actions. Many believe that a four-game suspension is too light. After all, he (most likely) cheated to get into the Super Bowl, for Pete’s sake! Many think John Stewart is right in saying Brady isn’t being punished, he’s getting a vacation! Others believe that punishment is far too extreme. Brady’s agent Don Yee has called the punishment “ridiculous.” Patriot’s owner Bob Kraft is even thinking of suing the NFL over the matter. I for one think Brady should be suspended through week 12, or just for week 12, so the Broncos don’t have to face him. Okay, that’s not true. He loses a lot in Denver and then cries; so I say make him play. But, I digress…

Unless folks are Patriots fans or have some vested interest in the team, it would seem that everyone believes Brady deserves to be disciplined in some way. After all, he did (allegedly) break a pretty clear rule. You cannot tamper with the footballs. Even if every other quarterback does it, even if it is kind of a ridiculous rule, even if his involvement in Deflate-gate (ugh, I feel dumb writing it…) was minimal, he broke the rules. What is more, since he refused to cooperate with Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL investigation, he should not be surprised by the punishment. Goodell had to impose some kind of discipline on him. A four-game suspension for Brady, a $1 Million fine for the Patriots, along with the loss of two future draft picks seems to be pretty fair in the grand scheme of things. The Pats suffer very little here (they can sneeze at $1 million dollars in the NFL). Brady does get docked some pay, but will probably be okay in the money department. The Pats have a way of getting the most out of all their players, drafted or undrafted. But, Brady, more likely than not, cheated. So, Roger Goodell had to do something.

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I think I have heard every possible scenario as to what Goodell could have done with this nonsense. This absurd story has been dissected from every conceivable angle. Well, every angle except one. There is one other way in which Goodell could have dealt with Brady’s infraction: he could have forgiven it. I mean, think about it: Goodell could have stood up in front of the media and said, “I am fully aware of what Tom Brady has done. So is he. I spoke with him yesterday on the phone and told him, though I know he is guilty, I am going to forgive the offense. Brady will be treated as though the deflating of the footballs never happened and will eligible to start week one. Are there any questions?”

Can you imagine the reaction to this? They (and by “they” I mean everyone including myself) would be gunning for Goodell! All of the vengeance and vitriol would be turned away of Brady and directed right at Goodell. I mean, it would look like he is on the side of the cheaters! Fans of the NFL would be calling for his head! The owners would fire him for not doing his job. The media would ridicule him up and down for being weak, pathetic, and impotent. Goodell would find himself losing the respect of his peers and his credibility as a commissioner. He’d find himself constantly in the company of all kinds of cheaters who would deem him their hero as they sought their own pardon. With a reputation for giving out that kind of treatment, Goodell would be a laughingstock and a fool!

And, Tom Brady would be both free to play and ready to follow Goodell anywhere.

Bah! Who am I kidding? That kind of treatment never produces anything good, right? Have fun on the beach with Gisele and the kids, Tom! See you in week five.

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