Deflated Footballs

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady speaks during an event at Salem State University in Salem, Mass., on Thursday. An NFL investigation found that Patriots employees likely deflated footballs and that Brady was “at least generally aware” of the rules violations.

The Wells Report came out this week and didn’t quite use these words but certainly made something clear: Tom Brady is a cheater.

Just prior to the AFC title contest in January, Brady gave himself and the New England Patriots an unfair and, within the confines of NFL rules, illegal advantage over Indianapolis. He deflated some air out of footballs the Patriots would be using — after those balls had passed the NFL inspection.

Tom Brady cheated.

If you’ve read the report in full, there is only one logical conclusion: Tom Brady is a cheater.

The Patriots won the contest, then beat Seattle in the Super Bowl and are the reigning world champions.

Brady isn’t answering any specific questions these days.

Why?

Because Tom Brady is a cheater.

And do you really think this is the first time Brady ever pulled off this stunt?

But back to basics: Brady cheated against the Colts.

So, what to do now?

You can’t replay the New England-Indianapolis game. The Super Bowl can’t be replayed.

The NFL has hinted it will take internal steps so “no such thing can happen again.”

Here’s how you guarantee such a thing doesn’t happen again: Ban Brady from the NFL for two years. That would get the players’ attention.

There isn’t a quarterback in America who would think of deflating a football with such a punishment having already been doled out.

Brady deserves such a ban.

An unscientific poll by ESPN showed the nation pretty much split in half on whether or not Brady deserves any type of ban. So a two-year ban won’t happen. But it ought to.

“Two years? Wow, you’re really worked up, my man,” said David Smoak, ESPN-Central Texas Radio’s popular on-air host and program director. “I won’t be upset if it’s only two games. There needs to be some ban, but two games would be plenty.

“And a two-year ban wouldn’t stop others from cheating anyway. Look at Alex Rodriguez: The guy gets suspended for a full year for doing steroids and, since that time, others have gotten caught doing steroids, too. The long ban didn’t stop others from trying to gain their edge.

“I love your passion. I can appreciate where you’re coming from. And I confess I do like the Patriots. But, two years?

“Wow, that’s a long time.”

Smoak also brought up an interesting point that hasn’t landed into this national discussion.

“Consider this,” said Smoak, “where were the officials during that game? There is an official who touches that football before every single snap. How come they didn’t notice the difference? Should the officials be held accountable?”

Hmm … maybe so.

But it’s Brady’s guilt which has already been proven. His owner isn’t fighting the Wells Report. If there was a chance of a trace of an iota that Robert Kraft could prove Brady didn’t do what he was accused of, Kraft would pick up that legal fight. And, let’s face it: Kraft can afford the legal bills for such a fight.

But Kraft has tossed in the towel on this for a good reason: He knows Tom Brady is a cheater.

And a long ban is appropriate. Two years is appropriate.

Credit Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine for having the guts to state the truth: “I’ve always had a lot of respect for him (Brady), but also I lose a lot of respect for people who cheat.”

Whatever the punishment ultimately is, probably six, perhaps eight games, those of us that think it should be longer can at least take solace in one absolute certainty.

In “Deflategate,” something else other than footballs got deflated.

Tom Brady’s reputation.

Contact Allan Mandell at amandell@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7566 and read his column at KDHPressbox.com

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