If it wasn’t clear before, Tom Brady isn’t stopping until he clears his name.
Roger Goodell’s decision to uphold Brady’s four-game suspension was a surprise, but it may be the most compelling indication that the New England Patriots’ four-time Super Bowl winning quarterback isn’t guilty.
The NFL Players Association and the league were in the midst of settlement talks that could have reduced Brady’s suspension.
By all accounts, however, Brady was always unwilling to admit any sort of guilt by compromising with a reduced suspension.
The league was probably willing to come down on his four-game ban to two, but Brady would have none of it and remained steadfast.
According to Brady, the NFLPA’s proposed settlement – likely a fine – was shot down and no counter was given by commissioner Roger Goodell. Basically, the situation has boiled down to two men on the opposite sides of the spectrum in the football world, holding their ground to save their reputation.
It’s hard to imagine Goodell’s plummeting any further, but it would certainly hurt his cause even more if he backed down and wiped away Brady’s suspension.
He can compromise to an extent but with the way he and the league have bungled the investigation and the situation in general, he has almost no choice but to stand the lofty ground he’s propped himself up on.
Brady, on the other hand, could have saved face a long time ago by confessing – if he actually is guilty – and accepting a punishment. Anyone working in public relations will tell you it’s always best to get ahead of the story and play to the public.
The fact that he’s done the complete opposite is testament to how strongly he feels he’s getting a raw deal. Rather than allowing the scandal to naturally dissipate from everyone’s memory over time by offering a mea culpa, Brady is essentially painting a bigger target on his back.
It’s similar to what many athletes have done when faced with performance enhancing drug accusations. Remember Lance Armstrong intensely denying his guilt for the longest time?
Or how about Rafael Palmeiro pointing his finger at Congress and spewing a bold-faced lie? It may be naïve to think the same isn’t happening with Brady. After all, steroids and deflated balls both come with the ‘cheater’ tag attached.
Goodell pointed to Brady destroying his phone as evidence of his obstruction in the investigation and thus his implied guilt, but that’s assuming far too much. Brady isn’t even required to hand over his phone in this case. This is the NFL, not the FBI.
Surrendering his phone would have shown he has nothing to hide, but it also means yielding highly personal and potentially sensitive information.
Robert Kraft said he hoped taking his penalties would lead to a better outcome for Tom Brady. Frustrated it didn’t happen.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 29, 2015
If you’re reading this and thinking you wouldn’t have a problem giving over your phone if there was nothing incriminating, just realise you’re not a multi-millionaire married to a supermodel with famous friends and connections all over the world. And you’re handing your phone to the NFL, who have proven to be poorly run and full of leaks.
Expecting anyone, let alone someone of Brady’s stature, to hand over something as personal as their phone is unfair. Destroying the phone doesn’t make Brady look any better, but it shouldn’t be the crux of the argument to convict him.
Frankly, this is an exhausting top- ic at this point. We’re talking about deflated footballs. It’s a ridiculous scandal that should have been over months ago. Yet, we’re just heading into the next chapter with an appeal in federal court coming.
At this point, Brady will either win and salvage his reputation in the public eye or lose badly and have a stain on his career, with no inbetween.
Brady’s only motivation for continuing to fight must be because he’s really innocent. Whether it will ever be proven is another question.
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