Thursday, June 25, 2015

Brady, Goodell and legacy

It seemed almost kangaroo-courtish that Roger Goodell would hear the appeal of Tom Brady's four game suspension for deflategate. After all, the Commish was adamant the original penalty was by his own hand. One would think such an appeal would be heard by a neutral party rather than the judge, jury, and executioner that presided over it in the first place. But this isn't your average court system with checks and balances in place. It's the wacky, if tyrannical world of the NFL.

Much has been said about how this may affect Tom Brady's legacy. The people that espouse this philosophy couldn't be more wrong. Brady's legacy has already been etched in stone, regardless of how this turns out. As a 4-time Super Bowl winner and MVP, he's an absolute lock to be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame as soon as he's eligible.

Rather, this is more about Goodell's legacy. The gnawing question seems to be -- will he botch yet another one? In a few recent high profile cases regarding other players, Goodell has instituted punishments only to be overruled later. As an example, he tried to retroactively bang Ray Rice under a rule that didn't even exist when RR's little elevator dust-up came to light. You can't do that. That would be like a cop giving you a ticket for something you did 6 months ago when no such infraction was on the books yet. Any reasonable judge would throw that out of court in two seconds.

Nevertheless, the Commish just heard Brady's appeal of the 4-game suspension. Reports say the hearing lasted 10 long hours. No doubt, lots of lawyers and deflation experts on both sides had to weigh in. But now it's over and the world eagerly awaits Judge Roger's next ruling.

The problem? Rumors say such a ruling might not be handed down for a month or so. That begs a question. Why so long and what the hell is the hold-up? All the evidence and testimony is in. So render a verdict already. It shouldn't take more than a few hours of "deliberation", a day or two at most. It is or isn't what it was and nothing's going to change. Make the call -- dammit. Let's GO!!

Thing is, the good Commish once again finds himself between a rock and a hard place. No matter what he does, he going to catch some serious flak. There will be ramifications.

If he upholds Brady's original 4-game suspension, he'll likely soon find himself in a real court being called as a witness. That could get embarrassing under a withering examination by a shrewd attorney for Brady.

If he waives the entire penalty, basically exonerating Brady, Goodell would not only be cannon fodder for a legion of critics, but further perceived as being weak and incompetent.

The most likely scenario is the 4-game suspension gets reduced to 1 or 2. The Commish could save a little face. Would Brady accept that? Nobody knows. Or would he and his legal eagles still find it unacceptable and pursue it through the justice system seeking total vindication? Nobody knows that either.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out, but there's no excuse -- NONE -- for Goodell to drag his feet for a month.

By doing so, his already not-so-good legacy would be tarnished even more. The dude's making over $40 million a year and it takes him that long to make a decision on an appeal?

Funny, or maybe not, how Goodell and his minions commissioned a report from one of their own to find incriminating evidence and acted so quickly once they thought they had it. But now that the other side is rightfully fighting back, they have to meditate for a few weeks.

Between Goodell and Brady, yours truly is pretty sure which will go down in history as one of the all-time greats at what he accomplished over the years.

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