Rules are rules: Tom Brady deserves to be punished

OMAR TYREE | 5/25/2015, 8:12 a.m.
I woke up this May 12 to another bomb of sports news dropped on the NFL: Four-time Super Bowl winning ...
Omar Tyree

(NNPA) – I woke up this May 12 to another bomb of sports news dropped on the NFL: Four-time Super Bowl winning quarterback, Tom Brady, has been suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season. The New England Patriots will lose a first-round draft pick in the 2016 NFL draft and a fourth-round pick in the 2017 draft. In addition, the Patriots organization will be fined $100,000.

What? Wow! All of this just for taking a little bit of air out of 11 footballs for the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts in late January?

Yes! The NFL is dead serious about keeping its game fair, while addressing dozens of team and player infractions on and off the field in its desperate attempt to hold itself to high standards of integrity, which Brady has apparently not bought into.

The whole football deflation issue and accusations have been no more than a big practical joke to Brady, as he repeatedly blew off the NFL officials with aw-shucks, come-on-guys jabs at press conferences, including locker-room guffaws about him not knowing anything. But the fact remains that 11 out of 12 footballs handled by Brady in the first half of the second biggest football game of the season that sent his Patriots team and its loyal fan-base to their sixth Super Bowl in 15 years were manipulated on purpose, for a quarterback who admittedly likes his footballs soft enough to grip and squeeze a little better, particularly in cold weather games.

Well, cold weather games are the norm in New England, and the Patriots have been known to bend the rules at all costs before. Nevertheless, Brady must have considered the football deflation transgression as more of a slap-on-the-wrist variety that he need not take too seriously. However, NFL officials did not consider it all jokes and games, particularly with so many other serious issues that have circled the league in the past few years.

Once the Wells Report came out that it was more probable than not that Brady knew about a pair of Patriots team assistants who conspired to deflate the championship footballs before the game and cover-up their tracks, the professional football fraternity of players, coaches and executives, as well as a nation of fans and media, were all waiting to see what would happen.

Would the all-American boy, Brady, be given a slap on the wrist or a two-game suspension, as I had first predicted? We all knew the league had to do something, or run the risk of thousands of players, coaches, fans and sports media pundits questioning how serious the NFL is about keeping the integrity of their game up to par, regardless of who breaks the rules particularly with suspensions being handed out left and right to African American players who get into trouble off the field.

Is Brady’s little white lies and jokes about deflated footballs any different from the big black lies of football players caught up in domestic violence disputes? I’m not necessarily comparing the two infractions, because domestic violence against women and children is surely a much bigger issue. However, I am comparing the lies, and lies to league officials during competitive and/or criminal investigations should be handled the same across the board. In fact, if a deflated football is such a small issue, then why even lie about it, while declining to cooperate with any further questions?