1. the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
2. a trigger word used by the NFL to justify a set up and a mass PR scandal which would eventually lead to an unprecedented punishment handed down by the NFL in order to gain complete power and authority by setting a legal precedent for players and/or teams facing punishment in the future.
There’s an old saying that aptly applies to those who want to see “justice” finally come down on the “Cheatriots”:
Be careful what you wish for.
This isn’t an article to try and change your mind or feelings about the Patriots or Tom Brady. If you think he’s guilty, so be it. At this point, it doesn’t matter if Tom Brady is innocent or not. There’s something far more sinister than deflated balls going down in the NFL, and as an NFL fan, you should be afraid. Players and coaches should all be afraid of the future of the NFL if this suspension goes through for “conduct detrimental to the integrity of, or public confidence in, the game of professional football.”
Roger Goodell has tried many times to exercise his authority only to have it thrown out by an independent arbitrator or within a court system. Why? Because they lacked precedent.
And now Roger intends to change all that by setting precedent in this case. This isn’t about a rule violation, this is about having complete power and control under a policy (which by the way was not given to players, but the team franchises) he deems as “conduct detrimental to the integrity of” the game.
If Tom Brady’s suspension goes through, it will protect Roger Goodell and the NFL from getting any of their future punishments thrown out in court.
Why should this scare you? “Conduct detrimental to the integrity of” the game is a very huge, vague umbrella in which the commissioner gets to pick and choose which may fall under that category.
Let me give you a scenario: If players are using a towel on the sidelines to wipe Stickum on their gloves in order to be able to hold on to the ball for a better grip and less likely to fumble…could that not fall under the policy of “conduct detrimental to the integrity” of the game? What if it was a game win by a field goal? What if it was a one handed catch that is hard to make, but that Stickum helped the receiver get a better grip on the ball and he was able to go in for a touchdown?
Maybe the Stickum didn’t even make a difference in the game…no more than deflated footballs made a difference in the Patriots vs. Colts AFCCG. What if there was no actual proof except circumstantial evidence that Sickum use was “more probable than not” and a possible “general awareness” of use by the team coach?
None of that would obviously matter under Roger Goodell’s policy.
Forget about the $20,000 fine the Chargers received for using an illegal substance on their towels (which they denied.) If this suspension goes through, no team is safe from the Ginger Hammer. Just bow down, admit guilt (even if you’re innocent) and the penalties may not be too harsh. Maybe.
The use of the word “integrity”, even just prior to the AFCCG, is more than disturbing. The more transparent this case has become, the more it all stems back to one infamous email, when “integrity” was first used:
“all the Indianapolis Colts want is a completely level playing field. Thank you for being vigilant stewards of that not only for us but for the shield and overall integrity of our game.” ~Ryan Grigson, Colts GM
“Integrity of the game.” Sound familiar?
Roger Goodell has hammered the words “integrity of the game” into our heads from the very start of “deflategate”…even before the Wells report or any “evidence” surfaced. The NFL spent millions on an investigation for a rule break that requires a minimum $25,000 fine? Don’t be silly. They knew exactly how they were going to punish Brady and the Patriots and it had nothing to do with a rule break.
They knew the Patriots were a mostly hated franchise outside of New England with a sordid past (aka. spygate). They understood that most NFL fans would eat up all that delicious anti-Patriot publicity…even if they were lies or twists of the truth.
While the rhetoric has mostly been “He cheated!” vs. “He’s innocent!” for over 6 months, the NFL has stalked up on lawyers, molded public opinion, and made the first move to bring an arbitration case (with no reduction in punishment) to a NY federal court. Goodell refused to hand over any notes of the Wells investigation over to Kessler and NFLPA lawyers and instead offered a ‘just trust us that all the info you need is in the Wells report’. Goodell refused transparency at Kessler’s request to make the appeal hearing transcript public.
The NY judge refused the NFL’s request to keep the transcripts sealed. A judge who probably knows how to cut through the rhetoric and get down to the heart of the matter at hand. It seems others are coming to see what is truly going on within the walls of 345 Park Avenue and integrity is not the first word that springs to mind.
You can hate Brady and the Patriots all you want. Goodell is hoping that hate burns so deep that you won’t pay any attention to him or his true agenda: legal Precedent.
a. An act or instance that may be used as an example in dealing with subsequent similar instances.
b. Law A judicial decision that is binding on other equal or lower courts in the same jurisdiction as to its conclusion on a point of law, and may also be persuasive to courts in other jurisdictions, in subsequent cases involving sufficiently similar facts.
You can bet that Goodell isn’t lying when he says the “integrity of the game” is what is most important. That’s the exact policy he’s going to use to set legal precedent for your teams in the future if this “Brady thing” goes in his favor.
It’s all good ol’ Roger needs to have complete power and control over his decisions and protect those decisions from being overturned in future appeal hearings and the federal court system.
Like I said, be careful what you wish for.
For those in search of information from a non-New England based legal mind who is not a fan of the Patriots, and how this case can affect your team in the future, check out Stephanie Stradley’s website.