Things aren’t looking good for the star player of the New England Patriots, winners of Super Bowl 2015. Tom Brady was suspended Monday, May 11, for four games next season. The National Football League sanctioned the quarterback for his involvement in the famous case of deflated balls, dubbed the “Defleategate” in the United States.
The penalty seems light enough on the facts alleged against him. On May 6, after a more than three months of investigation, the NFL concluded that Patriots employees had intentionally deflated eleven of the twelve balls used in the access to the final game against the Indianapolis Colts. Their victory had allowed them to qualify to meet the Seattle Seahawks they had beaten on February 1, winning the championship. But they’re unable to determine the impact on the score.
Several SMS had revealed that two employees of the Patriots, Jim McNally, an official of the locker room, and John Jastremski, an assistant equipment, had reduced pressure balls for the convenience of their quarterback, the position that leads the offensive passing the ball to a teammate for that brand behind the opposing line. A slightly deflated balloon may facilitate holding.
“In this case, the balls were deflated intentionally in order to give Tom Brady a competitive advantage, says Troy Vincent the executive head of the NFL. While we cannot be certain when the practice began, the evidence suggests that on January 18 [the date of the game against the Colts] was not the first and only time this happened. ”
However Vincent said it was impossible to determine whether this practice had affected the outcome of matches and know what effect it had been. The leader of the NFL nevertheless insisted that in a case like this, the rules exist for a reason and all clubs are expect to be held responsible for the actions of the respective teams. The violations that plague the League’s reputation of integrity and fair play cannot be excused simply because the precise impact on the final score could not be determined.
But Brady denies the facts still. If the two employees were suspended from duty with immediate effect and without compensation, Tom Brady, he avoids the worst. Only sanction: he will be forced to sit out the first four games of the next season. Yet if the investigators had stressed in their report that the evidence concerning the quarterback were less obvious than for Jim McNally and John Jastremski, they do not however believe that they would have engaged in such conduct without the consent of Brady. It’s indeed difficult to imagine the two assistants taking the initiative to change the pressure of the balls without reference to the principal beneficiary of subterfuge.
Tom Brady has denied the charges and refused to cooperate with investigations by refusing to provide its SMS and email. Moreover, it is this lack of diligence of the player, who seems to have motivated the sanction.
For good measure, the Patriots have been fined $1 million by the NFL. During the next two seasons, the club will not further recruit the best players during the traditional period of draft. We rely on the crucial importance of preserving the integrity of the game and the rigor and independence of the investigation, said Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner to justify the conviction.
The Patriots were already sanctioned in 2007: the coach, Bill Belichick, was convicted of having filmed the training of the opponent of the moment, the New York Jets. A practice prohibited by the rules of the NFL. The team and the coach were sentenced to fines of 250,000 and 500,000 dollars. Vincent explained that the precedent had been taken into account in determining the penalty imposed on the Patriots in the “Deflategate.”