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NFL Makes Its Point With Brady

Four-Game Ban Will Likely Be Reduced But Harsh Penalty Sends a Message

 


By Mitch Chortkoff

Sports Editor

The National Football League was far too lenient in punishing Ray Rice for domestic abuse.

Commissioner Roger Goodell took a beating from the national press and admitted he had to do better.

Well, folks, he did better this time. Coming down hard on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots was his way of saying, “yes, the NFL gets it.”

Brady’s four-game ban will probably be reduced on appeal, most likely to two games, but at least the NFL won’t have to save face this time. The message is that they have rules and don’t mess with those rules.

If an appeal isn’t successful Brsdy might seek help from a federal judge as Rice and Adrian Peterson did following their suspensions. So this suspension is only the beginning of a long drama.

Brady’s agent, Don Yee said “the NFL has a history of making poor disciplinary decisions that have been overturned.”

The Patriots have a reputation of bending rules, or at least pushing them to the limit. Deflategate wouldn’t have been such as big deal without that history.

Bill Belechick has the same reputation. Brady, a handsome man and a great quarterback, is also a smooth talker and doesn’t have a bad reputation. But he’s being punished partially because he wasn’t co-operative with the NFL during its investigation.

The NFL says Brady didn’t send emails they asked for and that worked against him even though they got the information from others.

Now we come to the owner. A one million dollar million fine and maybe it would have been higher if Robert Kraft hadn’t been one of Goodell’s best friends. And two draft choices, one of them in the first round.

“The punishment exceeds any reasonable expectations,” said Kraft.

The Indianapolis Colts, who complained to the NFL about deflated footballs following a loss to the Patriots last season, which triggered the investigation, are on the Patriots’ schedule early in the 2015 season. In fact, if Brady’s ban is not reduced it would be his first game.

As you might expect, Patriot fans have launched a campaign to raise the $1 million fine. Well, maybe not all of it but enough to show their support. In the first four hours the website was set up Tuesday $40 was raised.

It’s a beginning.

It isn’t the first time Goodell has come down hard on an NFL team. He banned New Orleans coach Sean Payton when it was reported a bounty was established for Saints players who would put an opponent out of a game with an injury.

But the Ray Rice mistake was the one that attracted an outrage nationally.

Goodell couldn’t pass up an opportunity to go the opposite way when the Brady scandal came up.

 

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