Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Deflategate & Other Wrongly Enforced Policies

"The Ball shall be made up of an inflated (12 1/2 to 13 1/2 pounds) urethane... The referee shall be the sole judge as to whether all balls offered comply with these specifications. A pump is to be furnished by the home club, and the balls shall remain under the supervision of the referee until they are delivered just prior to the start of the game." "Each team will make 12 primary balls available for testing by the referee 2 hours and 15 minutes prior to the starting time of the game to meet league requirements." - NFL Rule Book

The NFL has upheld Tom Brady's 4 Game Suspension and now we as Americans, as football fans, as people, must ask ourselves three questions about the ruling:

Is it consistent with the penalties Roger Goodell has handed down in the past?
Is it consistent with the protocol used to convict players of violating league rules?
Is it consistent with the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFLPA?

Sports Equivalents

         NFL: 4 Games
         MLS: 6.25 Games
         NBA: 20.5 Games
         MLB: 40.5 Games

Ted Wells Report 

The Ted Wells Report concluded, "We do not believe there was any wrongdoing or knowledge of wrongdoing by Patriots ownership, Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick, or any other Patriots coach in the matters investigated." Per Yahoo Sports.
         - Despite this, the Patriots as an organization received a $1 Million fine and lost 2 NFL Draft Picks.

"Patriots provided substantial cooperation throughout the investigation." They did 4 interviews with McNally, the employee accused of deflating the footballs, but he denied requests of a 5th interview. They interviewed Brady, but he did not provide investigators with his cell phone. - Page 23, Wells Report.
         - In the media, Brady and the rest of the organization have been portrayed as unwilling participants in the investigation, but according to the Wells' report this was not the case.

"The Commissioner's Powers under  this section  include imposition of monetary fines and draft choice forfeitures, suspension of persons involved, and, if appropriate, the reversal of a game's result of the rescheduling of a game, either from the beginning or from the point at which the extraordinary act occurred." - NFL Rule Book, Unfair Acts Section.
         - This policy leaves a wide range of punishments for the Commissioner to choose from, and he seems to have chose a different penalty for each tampering situation.

     Other Tampering Situations

 Chargers tampered with balls and were fined $20,000
 Vikings tampered and were told that it is frowned upon in the league.

Selected Suspensions of Significance

        Goodell suspended Ray Rice 2 games for domestic violence, and later raised it to indefinite suspension after video as released. Rice was found not guilty in court.
        Greg Hardy was convicted of domestic assault and suspended 10 games, which was later reduced to 4 after an appeal.
        Josh Brent was suspended 10 games for a DUI Manslaughter which resulted in the death of a Cowboy Teammate,


Goodell has never shown the ability to rule consistently, especially over the past few years. A commissioner who has put a premium on improving the NFL's off-field reputation has seen exponential growth in negative exposure of players in terms of domestic violence cases, DUIs, substance abuse, and PED offenses. There is no real consistency between suspension rulings, with severity reaching levels of arbitrariness that are unprecedented.

Beyond that, Executive Director of the NFL Player's Association, DeMaurice Smith, was quoted saying, "The guidelines Troy Vincent used to impose the discipline rule [On Brady] was under a competition rule that applies to clubs."In essence, the NFL justified Tom Brady's suspension using a rule that is not meant to be applied to individual players.

To top it all off, the Ted Wells Report cited that it is, "More probable than not that the player was generally aware' of someone else's conduct".  This does not seem to meet the standard of proof of preponderance of evidence that is required to suspend a player for a quarter of his season.