Suspension should be deflated

Tom Brady was suspended for four games for messing with the PSI of footballs. Ray Rice was suspended for two games for beating a woman unconscious.As soon as you can get your head around those facts, let me know. Because I?m still trying.But then I have to remind myself it?s completely apples and oranges and in no way merits comparison.On Monday morning I was asked what kind of a punishment I thought Brady and the Patriots would receive for their roles in Deflategate. I said that I thought Brady would get two games – whether that was the initial punishment or it was knocked down to that number through an appeal, I wasn?t sure. So, I?m sticking with two.I figured the Patriots would get a significant financial hit and get docked a couple of draft picks. The team was fined $1 million and will lose a first-round pick in 2016 and a fourth-round pick in 2017 “for the violation of the playing rules and the failure to cooperate in the subsequent investigation.” The fine matches the largest the NFL has ever given, to Ed DeBartolo Jr., the owner of the San Francisco 49ers who pleaded guilty to a felony for his role in a gambling scandal in 1999.It is the second time since 2007 the Patriots have been punished for violating league rules. They were fined $500,000 that year and had a first-round pick taken away and coach Bill Belichick was fined $250,000 for Spygate – illegally videotaping the New York Jets during a game.It is very likely those prior bad acts went into the accounting of the most recent transgression.Additionally, Jim McNally and John Jastremski, the Patriots staffers who likely “participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots game balls,” according to the report, have been suspended indefinitely without pay by the Patriots. They cannot be reinstated without the approval of NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent.As it stands now, Brady will miss the NFL?s kickoff game Sept. 10, against the Steelers, Sept. 20 at Buffalo, Sept. 27 against the Jaguars and Oct. 5 at Dallas. I expect him back for the Jags.Brady has repeatedly denied knowledge about the deflation of the footballs that were used in the AFC Championship Game, when the Pats beat the Colts, 45-7. But the report by investigator Ted Wells that was released on Wednesday found Brady?s claims “not plausible and contradicted by other evidence.”These findings were not made in a court of law, where clear and convincing evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt is needed. Wells needed only a preponderance of the evidence to hit Brady – which is why the phrase “more probable than not” is more probable than not to remain in our lexicon.?We reached these decisions after extensive discussion with Troy Vincent and many others,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said of the punishments. “We relied on the critical importance of protecting the integrity of the game and the thoroughness and independence of the Wells report.”Ah, yes, the integrity of the game.And now the face of the NFL will be sitting at home when the season opens. This is not what the NFL wants. The last thing Goodell wants is to have the league?s most recognizable player from the defending Super Bowl champion, a four-time Super Bowl winner and three-time Super Bowl MVP who has maintained – and cultivated – an otherwise squeaky-clean image throughout his career sitting at home for a quarter of the season. Often suspensions in sports are given with the idea that they will be appealed down.Goodell learned from the baby-soft treatment of the two-game suspension he gave Rice – and the ensuing PR firestorm. The NFL now has a six-game suspension for first-time offenders of the league?s domestic violence policy. Is that appropriate? It?s hard to say anything is an appropriate punishment for a man who beats a woman unconscious. But, let?s just say Goodell learned something and made a change.Don?t be surprised if he makes a change to Brady?s suspension also.

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