Deflategate Leaves Me Deflated

It’s not that Tom Brady was on a wanted poster, or was caught on a TMZ video. And it’s not like game-deciding incidents occurred during the activities by New England Patriots employees during the so-called Deflategate controversy in January.

But the Ted Wells report on Deflategate that was released this week showed some communications and activities by Brady and some Patriots officials that disappointed me. I like watching NFL football. But at least in this case, I don’t like seeing how the sausage is made.

The 243-page report included quite a bit of textual conduct — text messages between a couple of key Patriots game day workers, some of which included Brady, the Patriots’ star quarterback who has been a, uh, person of interest in the matter all along.

And those messages — verbatim and in tone — showed that a key player like Brady can indeed wag the dog that is an NFL franchise, especially in a game with a Super Bowl berth riding on it. And the messages also reveal a bit of arrogance by the employees and Brady themselves.

Consider this one, in which Brady is referenced (I’ve deleted the expletive, though it was included in the report) by a Patriots worker:

 “Tom sucks…im going make that next ball a (expletive deleted) balloon.”

Obviously, Brady and this fellow are used to discussing such matters as game-ball inflation.

Also, Brady shows a lack of integrity in a matter concerning a football that he autographed after achieving a milestone:

“Brady also said that he ‘absolutely’ would write ‘50,000 yards’ on a football if ‘someone asked me to do it,’ even if it was not the football used to reach the milestone.”

Sports memorabilia is a lucrative industry. So did Brady look at this incident as a form of compensation for past or future ball-inflation favors? Hmmm …

And the NFL needs to do some self-policing over this. It would be easy enough to put the officials in charge of the condition of all game balls. (Currently, each team supplies its own footballs.) In Major League Baseball, for instance, the home team furnishes all the balls, but they pass through the umpires’ hands before they are in play. Thus we have the occasional controversy when a pitcher is caught using a foreign substance hidden on his own person or uniform to alter a ball. He must do so in the field of play, in view of umpires, opposing players, and fans.

So congratulations to the Colts players who raised the ball-inflation question to officials working the AFC Championship Game, after they felt like something was up.

But a “thumbs down” emoji to Brady, who is talented enough to throw touchdown passes with any football. Ditto for the Patriots’ workers who apparently felt compelled to shade things in Brady’s favor, perhaps in order to keep their jobs or influential positions in the team hierarchy.

Yes, everyone has to keep the boss happy, or else. But you don’t have to put your star player or employer in a bad light in text messages. People will also remember who sent the message, and why.

— What’s your take on Deflategate? Leave a comment below.


About Steve Burns

I live in the Atlanta area. I also lived for many years in Southern California. I'm into mainstream media, social media, sports, business and politics. I worked for AOL's Patch, but this is my personal blog. I'm on Twitter (@bsteve76), Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. See ya 'round!
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