A great quarterback has uncanny awareness.
They assess the situation, feel and avoid the rush and step up into the pocket and make the throw.
This uncanny ability seems to be one of the greatest assets of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, both on and off the field. They are great at sidestepping the rush, literally and figuratively.
Thursday morning, just as many of us had finally spelled Tom Brady’s back up, Jimmy Garoppolo’s, name correctly, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman called the audible and overturned the NFL’s decision to suspend Brady for four games for his role in the Deflategate scandal.
As you may have already anticipated, social media exploded:
Congratulations to Tom Brady on yet another great victory- Tom is my friend and a total winner!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 3, 2015
If the NFL wanted to go to battle over the iron fist of its authority, Greg Hardy would have been a much better case than Tom Brady.— Julie DiCaro (@JulieDiCaro) September 3, 2015
The NFLPA released a statement from executive director DeMaurice Smith in support of Brady:
“The rights of Tom Brady and of all NFL players under the collective bargaining agreement were affirmed today by a Federal Judge in a court of the NFL's choosing. We thank Judge Berman for his time, careful consideration of the issue and fair and just result.This decision should prove, once and for all, that our Collective Bargaining Agreement does not grant this Commissioner the authority to be unfair, arbitrary and misleading.
While the CBA grants the person who occupies the position of Commissioner the ability to judiciously and fairly exercise the designated power of that position, the union did not agree to attempts to unfairly, illegally exercise that power, contrary to what the NFL has repeatedly and wrongfully claimed.
We are happy for the victory of the rule of law for our players and our fans. This court's decision to overturn the NFL Commissioner again should signal to every NFL owner that collective bargaining is better than legal losses. Collective bargaining is a much better process that will lead to far better results."
The NFL released a statement as well:
“We are grateful to Judge Berman for hearing this matter, but respectfully disagree with today’s decision. We will appeal today’s ruling in order to uphold the collectively bargained responsibility to protect the integrity of the game. The commissioner’s responsibility to secure the competitive fairness of our game is a paramount principle, and the league and our 32 clubs will continue to pursue a path to that end. While the legal phase of this process continues, we look forward to focusing on football and the opening of the regular season.”
Just when you thought things couldn't get any more embarrassing for The League, this morning ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” called B.S on the NFL, saying that the Patriots recorded 40 games of opponents between 2000 and 2007, a mind blowing accusation juxtaposed against Goodell's original statement before the Super Bowl in 2008."I believe there were six tapes," Goodell said. "And I believe some were from the preseason in 2007, and the rest were primarily in the late 2006 season."
It's like the deeper you dig, the more dirt on the Patriots surfaces, and most of it is being thrown on Goodell and the NFL.
The Pats have become the new version of the 1987 classic "The Untouchables."
But honestly, are we really that surprised by these decisions and revelations?
After all, Brady's rise to fame was all about a guy who was told he wasn't good enough. When a guy who made something of himself was told he did a bad thing, he's going stay with the whatever it is that made him who he is.
However, we need to stop on the persecuted figure narrative.
Brady is a football player.
Not someone who was wrongfully accused of a heinous crime. He allegedly had some footballs deflated. That's it. The entire saga appears to be a gross misappropriation of resources. The recent developments, including the accusations by the OTL segment, are in a long line of blunders for the NFL. Between this and the unevenness of recent suspensions, along with the upcoming "Concussion" movie, the NFL PR team will be doing two-a-days.
Some believe that Brady got out of all of this the because he’s white. Honestly, I can’t confirm or deny that but some folks love to make strange and unfounded juxtapositions when they don’t apply:
It was 6-8 players and the principal from a suburban school ratted them out. Not the same. https://t.co/G7PHETpqAb— Evan F. Moore (@evanFmoore) September 3, 2015
Between allegations of cheating in Super Bowl XXXVI, Spygate, Deflategate, Aaron Hernandez’s downfall, the alleged cozy relationship Roger Goodell and the Patriots had with Roger Goodell before this mess and now ESPN's report about 40 tapes, we ought to have Patriots fatigue.
But some will continue to press the issue and after today's news, maybe they'll be proven correct. Some of those pushing forward believe that Brady and the Patriots skated from the suspension because of privilege and skin tone; they might be correct too based upon other instances in the NFL.
While Brady will get to play in the season opener, Broncos safety T.J. Ward has to sit out the first game due to a 2014 incident where he allegedly threw a glass mug at a bartender in a strip club. The charges against Ward, which included misdemeanor assault and disturbing the peace, were dropped in exchange for community service. Normally, when the legal process plays out, resulting in no charges, you would think that someone would be free to suit up right? In Ward’s case, he can’t play even though he has no prior criminal record. This may seem like another case of the NFL handing out uneven penalties towards its players. However, something clandestine could be happening here. Ward told the Denver Post as much.
"My last name's not Brady,” Ward told columnist Mark Kizsla. “I feel it's really unfair, I'm getting punished for being accused of doing something. Not doing something, but being accused. And I've got to pay the consequences."
You could say that Ward only got community service because he’s a wealthy football player. After all, if that was you or me, the penalty might have been different. But let’s not take our eyes off of what Ward might have alleged. Some believe if Cam Newton, Russell Wilson or Teddy Bridgewater had deflated game balls they wouldn’t have gotten the same benefit of a doubt the the former Super Bowl MVP received. Who knows? But there’s a history of white people with money and clout escaping prison time. Remember the Texas kid who escaped jail time after using the “Affluenza” defense? Just imagine if that was a kid from a different income bracket. What about soccer star Hope Solo? U.S. Soccer allowed her to play in the World Cup despite her domestic issues and she even got a Sports Illustrated cover out of it.
I get that Brady is a winner who has a supermodel wife, lots of fans, multiple Super Bowl rings, etc. That’s not breaking news. We know this. However, it seems that all of the aforementioned things can build up a hell of a lot of cache. Just like past incidents, Brady and the Patriots remain relatively unscathed. We'll see what happens next after today's news from ESPN.
But regardless, fans don’t really care right now. If you hate Brady, the Patriots and all they stand for, most likely you will continue to hate their guts. If you're a Patriots fan, you feel vindicated (again) and you'll be ready for the start of the season.
So unless the NFL has another trick up its sleeve, it’s back to business as usual on Thursday night.