Deflategate: Goodell Up And Brady Down



The embattled Tom Brady.

While Grotonians were on their Spring Long Weekend, the newest chapter of the Deflategate saga unfolded. For those who have not been following what has been dubbed “Deflategate,” in the 2015 AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts, the Patriots were accused of deflating their footballs. At halftime eleven or twelve of their footballs were found to be underinflated.

The infamous Wells Report followed, a report which concluded that the Patriots purposely deflated their footballs. This resulted in the Patriots being fined one million dollars, losing their 2016 first round pick, their 2017 fourth round pick, and Tom Brady being suspended for the first four games of the 2015-16 NFL season.

Brady fought back and appealed his suspension, taking the case to court. In August 2015, the NFL Players Association and Brady met with the NFL at the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The battle in court ended when Judge Richard Berman decided the vacate the suspension.

Fast-forward to recent events, on March 3, 2016 the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reinstated Brady’s four-game suspension. Judge Barrington Daniels Parker, Jr. cited the labor law in the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL players and owners, a law which states that whatever NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell decides is final.

The decision by the court was polarizing, leading many to weigh in on the issue. Due to Groton’s location, a large percentage of Grotonians are die-hard Patriots fans. After hearing about the decision of the United States Court of Appeals, many were outraged. When asked about the verdict, self-described Tom Brady enthusiast Matt O’Donnell ’17 said, “Tom Brady is a god. He can do no wrong.” While this stance may seem radical, others provided more probable theories on this case. Lifelong Patriots fan and teacher Bill Maguire said, “the Brady suspension is an act of the owners in the league wanting to get back at the Patriots for not being sufficiently punished for Spygate. Goodell is a marionette for the owners who are tired of the Krafts, Bill Belichick, and losing to the Patriots.”

Mr. Maguire and Matt O’Donnell’s thoughts of the incident are representative of many Grotonians’, but there are some whose judgments stand on the opposite side of the debate. One of these people standing in the minority is Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan Jarvis Bereday ’17. Known for his controversial ideas against the Patriots, the elated Bereday said, “I’m glad justice has been served. The Patriots and Tom Brady have been cheating for years. And in fact they have never won a Super Bowl without cheating.” While these strikingly different opinions are present on the Circle and with the Deflategate saga not over yet, the upcoming months will be interesting, to say the least.