"Deflategate" is back in the news, and not because Tom Brady's appeal is set for Tuesday, June 23rd. No, it's the report related to the entire investigation that brought the news back to the forefront.
And the news, Patriots fans, is good news for Tom Brady.
For anyone who might have missed it, the American Enterprise Institute, a third party group that did not get asked to provide info, has published a report which pulls all of the Wells report findings into question. It states that the science is flawed, and that there are other more likely scenarios to explain why the footballs became deflated. Take a look at the entire report by clicking here.
The report states that it the Wells report is "likely" incorrect. It states that the tests that were run were wrong, and with the correct ones, other conclusions would have been drawn.
It does not, however, state that the Wells report is definitely wrong. So, we have two reports, the Wells report that says it's "more probable than not" that something happened, and the AEI report that says the Wells report is "likely" incorrect.
So with the appeal slated for Tuesday, what does this mean for Tom Brady? Where does this leave Brady with his appeal, and what should happen with his punishment?
The fact is, with the two conflicting reports, we have questions. We don't know that the Patriots and Tom Brady are innocent. We don't know that the Patriots and Tom Brady are guilty. Neither report can tell us. We are stuck with probables and likely. Nothing is definitive, we just don't know.
With that, it's no longer justifiable to punish Tom Brady for what might have happened. Whatever we, or I, might believe, based on the text messages, it's not enough. A suspension would be appropriate for something that did happen, not for something that might have happened.
There, a card carrying Jets fan said it. Tom Brady deserves to have his penalty reduced.
Reduced, not vacated. Tom Brady still does deserve to be punished here, just not nearly to the level of a four game suspension.
The problem for Brady goes back to the issue with his phone. Despite the fact that they had the texts from the two off the field members of the Patriots organization, Tom Brady was asked to turn over his phone. He said no. The investigators even gave him the chance to only turn over the information that he deemed was relevant, and they would accept that. Brady still said no.
The NFL collective bargaining agreement does not allow Tom Brady to refuse. Here is the direct quote from the NFL CBA:
Actual or suspected competitive violations will be thoroughly and promptly
investigated. Any club identifying a violation is required promptly to report the
violation, and give its full support and cooperation in any investigation. Failure to
cooperate in an investigation shall be considered conduct detrimental to the
League and will subject the offending club and responsible individual(s) to
All of the players agreed to the CBA. Tom Brady cannot go against it, no matter what reason he felt that he had to. The rules say no. The rules say that if you do, you are subject to punishment.
What is the appropriate punishment? We look for precedent to figure that out. Back in 2010, Brett Favre failed to cooperate in the investigation of the pictures he allegedly sent to Jets employee Jenn Sterger. The punishment there was a $50,000 fine.
With that being the most direct precedent, this is the result that Tom Brady deserves.
Most of the country won't like it, but as it stands now, this is what should happen.
Tom Brady doesn't deserve to have his punishment completely taken away. But, he certainly doesn't deserve to be suspended either.