Arrogance befalls all of us. Arrogance is what took down Rome. It helped destroy the Egyptian empire. It now has a chokehold on Tom Brady’s legacy. It’s been some kind of year for the New England Patriots. And not for all the right reasons. The Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks to claim the Super Bowl in February. In April, star tight end Aaron Hernandez was found guilty in the first-degree murder of Odin Lloyd.
Now comes the news that the NFL just told Brady to sit down for the first four games of the 2015 season without pay for doing a lot more than gain a competitive advantage over his opponents. And we haven’t even made it to June.
It would seem that suspension and Tom Brady should not even be mentioned in the same breath if you’re guided by all the Brady homers on network television and radio who are so busy sucking up to the longtime NFL quarterback that you’d think they all have a personal rooting interest in his fate. Listen, the guy looks like a man who cheated and simply got caught. And then, like they’ve done in the past, Brady and the New England Patriots became arrogant about their alleged cheating ways.
Doctoring footballs to a certain degree is not a sin. It is, however, against the rules of the NFL. Rules are in place so everyone can stay on the up and up. You break the rules, you pay the consequences. We’re all governed by that standard, whether you’re an NFL star or a janitor (in this case a ballboy) mopping the floor of a hospital. Brady’s actions, according to the NFL-authored Ted Wells Report, shows the All-Pro signal-caller thinks he is above that reproach.
To top that off, Brady had the audacity to flip the bird to his bosses in defiance. He allegedly lied about the matter to the NFL as well. Nevermind that Brady had already came out and lied to the public on the topic. This is what arrogance does. Commit the crime, become uncooperative, lie about the circumstances and then look at everybody else like they’re all fools. Way to go, Brady.
And it didn’t have to come to this point.
Brady has been all things and everything to the NFL during his successful NFL career. He’s a four-time Super Bowl champion. He is a three-time Super Bowl MVP. He’s model good-looking. He’s married to a supermodel for goodness sake. Some guys have all the fun. Sometimes guys like Brady circumvent the rules just so they can keep enjoying that kind of fun.
Unfortunately for Brady that fun has come with a price tag. The verdict from Deflategate is officially in and he has been found guilty. He is now labeled as an alleged cheater. The adage that says winners never cheat and cheaters never win apparently does not apply to Brady and the Patriots. Brady and the Patriots have won.
They’ve also been the mob-like flashpoint of “How to Get Away With Cheating” if you reference the “Spygate” scandal that cost coach Bill Belichick $500,000 after the team was caught illegally videotaping opponents outside of the league rules. People are now all up in arms because Brady, the NFL’s “Golden Boy” has not been so golden in the franchise’s latest mess. If you’re “generally aware” that cheating is going on so you can get a competitive advantage, that gold standard becomes smeared.
Brady just smeared his own legacy. He hasn’t been framed. He wasn’t set up. He did this all by himself. It doesn’t matter what Brady has done on the football field to earn the reputation as one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. The league’s four-game suspension of Brady, emphatically just tarnished everything he built up. You would be an idiot to look at Brady and what he has accomplished the same way.
Do people look at Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Lance Armstrong the same way after the steroids debacle grabbed headlines in Major League Baseball? No. Then we should not look at Brady as we did before Deflategate came about. If one of the game’s biggest stars have the guts to allegedly cheat during the AFC title game, then you and I are smart enough to read between the lines to know that this was not a one-time deal. This was systemic behavior.
Let’s not be pretentious about the punishment the NFL handed down to Brady and the New England Patriots. It was soft. Brady should have been suspended for at least eight games. Belichick should be gone for half a season. A million dollar fine is nothing but a drop in the bucket for a billionaire like team owner Robert Kraft. They (Patriots) cheated again and got put in time out. There’s a track record with the Patriots and wrongdoing.
Common sense tells us we cannot keep burying our heads in the sand when it comes to the Patriots and their wayward ways, even if it means effective erasing the “Golden Boy” tag from Brady’s Hall of Fame marker.