Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Justice--NFL Style

As a Pittsburgh Steelers fan I'm glad to see that Jimmy Garoppolo will likely be the starter for the New England Patriots when they host the Black and Gold for the opening game of the NFL season.  Barring a legal injunction from a Federal judge, Tom Brady won't even be in Gillette Stadium that night--as he will be serving the first game of his four game suspension for deflating balls that were used in the AFC Championship game against Indianapolis last season.  Or at least requesting that the balls be deflated by now-former Patriots equipment managers.  Or maybe because he didn't "fully co-operate" with a league investigation that had neither the legal right to question Brady about what he knew or to subpoena and seize any of his personal property--like a cellphone.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell--acting as Prosecutor, Jury, Judge and Appeals Judge--is sticking by his original punishment of four games for Brady.  That would be the same number of games that Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Greg Hardy will be suspended for thowing his girlfriend into walls and furniture of their apartment, choking her and threatening to shoot her with the dozens of assault rifles that he had in the residence.  Crimes that he was initially convicted in a court of law of committing--before the verdict was overturned on a technicality and the victim no longer wanted to pursue prosecution because Hardy paid her a bunch of money.

The suspension that Commissioner Goodell has given Tom Brady is the same length that Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was given for allegedly forcing himself on a woman in a bar bathroom.  Criminal charges there were dismissed after the victim decided she no longer wanted the case to go forward.  That is double the length of the suspension given to former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for punching out his then-fiancĂ© in a casino elevator.  It was only after extreme public backlash that Goodell made Rice's suspension indefinite--a decision that was later overturned by a Federal court.  Tom Brady will also sit out one more game than Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Letroy Guion will miss for the possession of a large amount of marijuana, cash and a gun this past off-season.

So let's review the ranking of "seriousness of offense" in the eyes of Commissioner Goodell from least-serious to most-serious:

5--Punching out your fiancé and dragging her body around on the floor

4--Violating state and federal drug laws

3--Attempted sexual assault

2--Attacking and threatening to kill a woman

1--Taking air out of game balls.

Commissioner Goodell insists that Brady's punishment is "fair" given that he "tainted the integrity of the game".  How many games will we have to suspend Commissioner Goodell for doing the same thing?

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