Ballistic

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By Chris Barnes

The NFL suspended Slim Shady, aka Tom Brady, for the first four games of the 2015-2016 season. The Patriot team got hit with a one-million dollar fine, and they lost a few draft picks. They got off easy.

On January 18, 2015, Tom Brady stood in front of the cameras with a blank stare and his retro, red-white-and-blue New England Patriots knit hat, and did his best Oliver North impersonation—denying everything about underinflated balls in the AFC Championship game against the Colts. Aside from Patriot fans, who bought his story?

The Wells Report put the text messages between locker-room attendant, Jim McNally, aka “The Deflator” and the equipment assistant, John Jastremski in a bad light. Since when do superstar football players call equipment managers and say stuff like, “Are you good?”

The rules require that an official NFL football be inflated to 12.5 – 13.5 pounds per square inch. More than half of the balls confiscated tested below the league limit. Does anyone believe that Tom Brady didn’t notice this? Major-league pitchers know when they have a bad ball, and they throw it back to the catcher and ask for a new one. Professional golfers spot bad balls immediately and they throw them out. At the start of every NBA game, the referee gives the ball to the captains of both teams, and asks them to approve it. Tom says he’s not guilty. Really?

Why do some people think Tom Brady, the clean-cut choir boy, can do no wrong? Tommy would never cheat! He would never embarrass his teammates on national television when they make mistakes. Hurl expletives on the football field for everyone to decipher without the audio?

Let me address NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. We know you root for the Patriots and your bosom buddy Robert Kraft, who owns the team. You dispatched NFL Executive Troy Vincent to be your hatchet man with the suspensions and fines. You hired an independent research team headed by Ted Wells to do the leg work, thereby allowing you to distance yourself from the findings. What message will you send going forward? Will you overturn the decision and condone cheating? If you stay out of it, the public and NFL players will respect you and the process. Otherwise …