Deflategate has hit the pages again. This time the Wells report was unveiled, and Tom Brady has been suspended for four games for his role in “deflating” footballs after the officials inspected them. Also the two equipment managers have been suspended and the New England Patriots have been fined $1 million and have had two draft picks taken away from them.
According to the NFL this is all being done to protect the integrity of the game.
“Your actions as set forth in the report clearly constitute conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the game of professional football. The integrity of the game is of paramount importance to everyone in our league, and requires unshakable commitment to fairness and compliance with the playing rules,” NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent wrote in a letter to Brady.
Case closed, right? Well not exactly. Obviously Brady is going to “appeal” his suspension. Critics of the Wells report, including Brady’s agent, call it dubious at best and a sham at worst. They claim that the incident “did not affect the outcome of the game in question.”
On the other hand, supporters of the suspension argue that the “outcome of the game is not the central issue. The fact Brady cheated is the central issue.” The NFL is very quick to shout out “integrity” when it is dealing with rules violations. Suspensions are all in the name of the “integrity of the game” or “protecting the shield.”
The really funny part in all of this is that the NFL has shown absolutely no integrity at all. Yes, they are very quick to suspend a player for wearing the wrong colored shoes during a game, or having a logo other than NFL on a headband, or for deflating game balls in order to gain and advantage. But that is as far as their integrity goes.
In the last year and a half, several players in the NFL have been accused and in some cases convicted of domestic violence. Ray Rice’s case hit the headlines really hard. But, the problem is that domestic violence was a problem in the NFL for years, and they did nothing about it. After all, that person being abused is really a nobody in terms of the game! And, she probably had it coming.
Several players have also been accused of rape. But that isn’t an integrity problem for the NFL either. It is just a few bad apples. Including the number 1 draft pick this year who not only was accused of rape, but convicted of stealing crab legs. And how did this draftee show his integrity? He “selfied” himself and girlfriend eating crab legs to celebrate his selection as number 1. Talk about rubbing it in.
Then we can take the issue of CSE. Literally hundreds of former, and even some current players, are suffering after effects of concussions. The sport of football is a violent game and injuries do happen. But instead of putting a lot of emphasis on reducing the number of concussions, the NFL has put together a very highly paid legal team to fight against the argument that the NFL is responsible for these injuries. Besides these concussions are caused by “faulty equipment.”
Then there are the other players who have had several knee operations, hip replacement surgeries, and a myriad of other surgeries that have made them disabled. The pension plans for these former players who mostly played before a union is measly at best. And the health coverage they get is even worse. But, that doesn’t seem to fit into the NFL’s definition of “integrity.” Not to mention that these players are all injured because the “fundamentals” of the game aren’t being taught anymore. So, blame those coaches not the NFL.
I used to play football. I loved the game. But, as I think I mentioned before, I have stopped watching the game. Every time I see even a highlight of a game, I am more reminded of the old Roman Gladiators in the Coliseum. The game has stopped being a game of football, and has become a gladiator match. The only question during a game today, is how many players will be carted off the field due to a serious injury.
What is even worse is that every Sunday during the season, and now every Monday and Thursday, millions of people tune in to watch this gladiator spectacle. The NFL and their sponsors make billions of dollars off of these players injuries. Then, like the rest of our “throw away society” simply throw away these players and say “they chose to play the game so it is not our fault.”
The NFL will suspend players to “protect the integrity of the game.” But, someone should write Commissioner Goodell and let him know where he can find the definition of the word “integrity.” I think he will be surprised to learn that it covers a whole lot more than just “playing by the rules.”
Unless people stop watching the game until the NFL cleans up its act in many areas, this stupidity will continue. The NFL and its sponsors only understand one thing. Money! We need to cut off the money before we can expect any real changes in the NFL’s behavior. Until then, the NFL will have very little to do with “integrity.”