The best the NFL could come up with: Brady “probably was generally aware of the improper activities.”
Tom Brady and DeflateGate. It’s an eye-rolling, buzz-killing story that has been sucked dry by the national media. I don’t want to be associated with it, but would like to slip in one point, so let’s keep this column between you and me.
The NFL gets props for moving the conversation from what did or did not happen to the PSI of game footballs to Tom Brady destroying his cellphone. This assertion allowed NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to claim Brady willfully obstructed his investigation. That was pro league propaganda, in terms of skillful maneuver, the best move the NFL has made in years.
Goodell wrote that Brady willfully obstructed the investigation by, “arranging for destruction of his cellphone knowing that it contained potentially relevant information that had been requested by the investigators.” To make his charge more dramatic Goodell claimed Brady’s phone was terminated with extreme prejudice on or near the day Ted Wells, a person who the NFL laughingly describes as an “independent” investigator, was scheduled to interview the Patriots QB.
I’ve seen this plot on TV a million times. Spoiler alert: the phone destroyer guy did it.
The Patriots swallowed a $1 million fine and the loss of first- and fourth-round draft picks because, as Patriots owner Robert Kraft said, “I believed it would make it much easier for the league to exonerate Tom Brady.”
Pay $1 million, admit guilt, exonerate Brady. Can someone translate?
Plot twist. After Brady’s appeal was turned down and the league upheld his four-game suspension Kraft said, “I want to apologize to fans of the New England Patriots and Tom Brady. I was wrong to put my faith in the league.”
Brady used the cellphone in question from early November 2014 to March 6, 2015. Four months. Sending and receiving 10,000 text messages in four months is an impressive and extremely depressing factoid. Brady offered to give the NFL his cellphone records, which would show where his phone calls and text messages were sent. This offer did not include the content of any text message.
And blah de blah blah. If it was up to me I’d send them all to prison for boring the sporting public unto narcosis. Perhaps I should rephrase. I believe Brady is guilty, but it’s a belief, I don’t know if he’s guilty. Neither does the NFL; the best they could come up with was a finding that Brady, “...probably was generally aware of the improper activities.”
Probably...generally aware...improper activities.
The Vegas Line: NFL Pre-Pre-Season, Hall of Fame Game, Canton, Ohio
What’s of interest, the only bit that is interesting to me, is the near universal corporate media assumption that Brady should have done the manly thing and turned over his phone and 10,000 text messages to the NFL. But no, he willfully destroyed his cellphone. That proves guilt.
See that thought float through? It says, Are you fucking crazy? The idea that Brady should hand over his phone, entrust the league with 10,000 personal text messages, and the intimate, slanderous details sure to be found therein, plus the names and e-mail addresses of everyone Brady communicates with, to the NFL, a rapacious, chronically leaking, incompetent, predatory, lying outfit, the FIFA of North America, is beyond comprehension.
The NFL is a trade association. That’s it. They have the same subpoena power as the Laundromat down the street. Brady doesn’t owe them his phone records. He did the manly thing and saw to it that his phone was destroyed before the NFL got their hands on it.
As my dear, sainted grandmother said on her deathbed, taking her last breath and smiling a sweet grandmotherly smile, “Never write anything in an e-mail or text message that you would not want to defend in court.”
In other news, checking NFL lines as the fall/winter betting season begins. Everybody has Minnesota favored by 2½ over Pittsburgh for Sunday’s Hall of Fame Game. This is a special game, reserved for degenerate gamblers. The entire NFL preseason is reserved for degenerate gamblers, but the very first preseason game, the guaranteed four quarters of garbage known as the Hall of Fame Game, has it’s own special category, Pathetic Degenerate Gamblers.
Each team brings a gaggle of 90 players, nobody is trying to win the game, each teams’ first string will be lashed to a sideline bench, and the TV audience will number in the millions. Last year’s HOF Game got a 5.2 household rating, viewed by 8.5 million village people, which gave the telecast a higher rating than every televised NBA game during the 2013–2014 season, every televised NHL game, and all of the MLB postseason save the World Series.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.