Let’s establish something right now, I am not and never have been a Patriots fan. In fact, I am completely the opposite. I am Jets fan. I hate the Patriots. I despise Bill Belichick for spurning the Jets all those years ago. I hate Tom Brady. I can’t stand Ty Law. Randy Moss in a Patriots uniform makes me sick. The fact that Danny Woodhead was so successful in New England drives me crazy.
I digress though because I am actually here to defend Tom Brady. The New England quarterback had his suspension reinstated on Monday following a new decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals. Brady is now set to miss the first four games of the 2016 season.
In most cases, that would make me really happy. I love seeing Brady upset or ticked off. I thoroughly enjoyed watching him get battered in the AFC Championship game against the Broncos. I relish his post game press conferences when he loses to the Jets. So naturally, Brady missing the first four games of the season should make me happy right?
Well not exactly. While Brady missing the first four games hurts the Patriots, something I enjoy, it also reinforces a bigger issue. Roger Goodell is still in charge of player discipline and more often than not, he makes decisions regarding player punishment without any rhyme or reason.
Based on the evidence found against Brady, the league really only had grounds to punish him for personal misconduct and refusal to cooperate. His destroying of his cell phone certainly made him look guilty and definitely underlines his lack of cooperation.
However, that is about where the hard evidence ends. Scientifically, the Patriots explained away any differences in the air pressure of the footballs in question from the 2015 AFC Championship against the Colts. The NFL essentially had nothing on Brady or the Patriots.
The issue being debated now in court is over the commissioner’s ability to assess discipline as he sees fit. I think that is a major issue. I’ve been saying for a while now that Goodell should not be in charge and that the league needs to change how it handles player punishments. Removing Goodell from the equation is a good first step.
This is a man who has continually botched situations like the Ray Rice incident and has shown his true colors. Goodell is a sexist, egotistical executive whose sole objective revolves around revenue.
Now, as I have said before, I hate Brady. With a passion. I have tried to set that aside when viewing this situation. I hate Roger Goodell even more, and I will be honest, I have made no effort to set those feelings aside when critiquing him.
The reason for that is because the type of hate I have for Brady and the type of hate I have for Goodell are fundamentally different. I hate Brady because he is really good at what he does and because his success often goes against what I would like to see happen as a sports fan. I hate Goodell on the other hand because he is terrible at what he does and I do not believe that he deserves to be in power. There is a very distinct difference in the reason why I hate each of them.
Brady has become the unfortunate center of the NFLPA’s challenge to Goodell’s power. He likely doesn’t deserve a four-game suspension. He is also not definitively guilty. But this is no longer about proving Brady guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is about establishing the power of the commissioner to suspend and fine players at his discretion. A power that I hardly think he deserves.
So yes, I am defending Brady. Not because I like him, or even think that he is completely innocent of all wrong doing. I am defending him because his opponent is Goodell, and I will never be on board with supporting that sycophantic, corrupt, greedy, misogynistic dictator who has continually brought shame to the sport that I love to watch on Sundays.
I hate Brady, but I know when to draw the line.