The New England Patriots are having one of their worst weeks, and this after yet another Super Bowl championship. They cheated, or so says the NFL. Therefore, quarterback and all-American perceived nice guy Tom Brady will be suspended for four games, which means a loss of about $2 million in pay, and his team is being fined another million. Why? Because, the league says, they intentionally deflated footballs to make them more easily gripped by one of the best QBs ever to play the pro game. As if he needs such an advantage.
The fines matter little. The team’s owner is a billionaire and a million to him is, well, bean bag. And Brady and his super model wife are worth about half what the owner is, so losing a couple million also isn’t going to put them out on the streets either.
All of that to me, though, is bean bag.
This seems to be all about ego and hubris. Once again, the cover-up is bigger crime than the crime itself. Brady assured, when the allegations broke just before Super Bowl week, he did “absolutely” nothing wrong. The answer that stood out to me at the time was when Brady was asked if he was a cheater. His response: “I don’t believe so.” Could have been the pressure of the moment but “I don’t believe so” when asked if you’re guilty of something is not the answer that would come to my mind. Question: “Sir, did you beat your wife?” Answer: “I don’t believe so.” Sorry, that doesn't sound right to me. It’s yes or no. It’s a little like, “it depends what the definition of ‘is’ is” if you ask me.
The other night Brady spoke at Salem State College, in an appearance arranged before the report was scheduled to be issued. Every local station carried it live in prime time, interrupting regularly scheduled programming. Asked about the report, Brady played to the crowd (which was like a pep rally for him) and said he hadn't read the report and he would and get back to us. Again, sorry -- you either did it or didn't. What's to read? You, tom, know the truth.
So, a couple of tenths of a pound per square inch really wasn’t worth all this newsprint, news time or bother. If Brady, his owner and his team had simply said at the beginning of this controversy “we did it” this would have ended months ago, Brady likely would have not been suspended for four games and the few million in fines likely would not have been assessed. Call it hubris. Call it ego. Call it chutzpah.
Whichever, Brady's name in history now will be tainted by it, and his (so far) four Super Bowl wins will share equal space in the history books with this sorry episode.