The NFL Continues Its Insane War Against Its Most Famous Player

The NFL upheld its four game ban of Tom Brady, setting up a showdown in federal court.

Ballghazi. Deflategate. Tom’s soft balls. No matter how you describe whatever has been going on between the NFL and its premiere quarterback, you can’t deny that you’re sick of it all. We, as a country, would rather have Tom Brady play every game wearing a mink coat and texting his beautiful wife than ever, ever hearing about the psi for those footballs or what Brady does with his old cell phones. And yet the NFL, in pursuit of some sort of strange and noble idea of itself as a valiant and patriotic judge, jury, and executioner, has decided to not only uphold their four-game suspension of Tom Brady, but to double down on their half-baked and ultimately ludicrous belief that Tom Brady should have incriminated himself in their investigation into the deflation of footballs.

Today, in a 20-page decision, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell rejected Tom Brady’s appeal of his four-game suspension, an appeal that was heard by Goodell, the very man who issued the suspension in the first place. Goodell, instead of revealing a brand new piece of information that would justify a suspension that was based on the grounds of essentially failing to admit wrongdoing, doubled down on his displeasure or Brady’s decision to not turn over his cell phones to Goodell. These cell phones, Goodell believed, were the smoking guns for coordination between Brady and Patriots equipment staff into deflating balls during the AFC championship game this past January.

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From today’s decision:

“The commissioner found that Brady’s deliberate destruction of potentially relevant evidence went beyond a mere failure to cooperate in the investigation and supported a finding that he had sought to hide evidence of his own participation in the underlying scheme to alter the footballs.”

Essentially, the NFL continues to believe that its players owe them access to their own personal records in the event of an investigation into misconduct, a right that literally no employer in this country has. Brady broke no laws. He possibly didn’t even instruct the equipment personnel to deflate those footballs. And even if he did, the way the NFL has handled this has been truly misguided — in an attempt to appear as a bastion of justice, a bald eagle of fairness, the NFL has asked that it be treated as an extralegal entity. Too bad they’ll now have to most likely defend that stance in federal court, a case they will almost most certainly lose. 

Photos by Jim Rogash/Getty Images