In general, it’s dangerous to proclaim 100 percent certainty about anything. But NFL commissioner Roger Goodell did just that when asked by NBC’s Matt Lauer if he got Deflategate right.
“Yes,” Goodell said without hesitation, according to PFT, adding: “We went through a very exhausting process with this. We had an independent investigation.”
Exhausting, yes, exhaustive … much less so. The Wells Report, which cost the NFL more than $2.5 million, was short on incriminating evidence, though that didn’t keep the league from suspending Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for the first four games of the 2016 season.
Brady’s punishment without clear evidence is also why, last summer, Patriots owner Bob Kraft said that he “was wrong to put my faith in the league.”
“Every player, every team, is subject to the same rules,” Goodell told Lauer. “We don’t have rules for marquee players and we don’t have rules for marquee teams,” Goodell said.
Still, even though Brady has publicly accepted his fate, Pats president Jonathan Kraft remains miffed at how the NFL has treated the future Hall of Fame quarterback.
“I think I want to start by saying Tom Brady is exceptional,” Kraft last last month during an appearance with CBS Boston‘s Marc Bertrand. “We’ve talked about it a lot, but he’s an exceptional human being. From our perspective, he’s the type of professional athlete that you want to celebrate, hold up as an example, not only to other players in the league but hold up to kids that are playing the game, and just as somebody you want to model your life off of, not only as a professional athlete but how he is as a father to his children, a husband, a son to his parents, a brother to his sisters. He is as good of a human being as you can get. And I think as I’ve told you before, if Tom was a lot younger and let’s say he wasn’t a football player but was the exact same guy and he married my daughter, I’d think my daughter had married the greatest guy in the world. He’s exceptional.
Translation: The hard feelings remain.
“So for us, seeing him treated him in a way that we don’t perceive to be fair eats at us greatly,” Kraft continued. “And there’s still a tremendous amount of, there’s frustration around how the pure facts of science and lack of any type of tangible, hard evidence that certain people can look at those circumstances and then try to taint him or his legacy without that type of evidence. And that will always be a frustration that spurs anger here. Not having him play on the field, there will be an emptiness and you really feel for Tom, because you know how badly he wants to be out there.”
Kraft won’t find much sympathy outside of New England, but there is a silver lining to Brady’s month off and Kraft touched on it in his “frustration spurs anger” remarks. Brady might be an exceptional human being, but the man can also hold a grudge. And he’ll no doubt use the four-game suspension to plot his revenge on the rest of the league, both when he returns against the Browns in Week 5, and for the remainder of the season that, should it culminate in another Lombardi Trophy, would surprise exactly no one.
Source: CBS Sports / Roger Goodell is 100 percent certain the NFL got Deflategate right