New England Patriots: The Clock Is Ticking

Greg Hardy’s Suspension Reduced

Arbitrator Harold Henderson has upheld Greg Hardy’s suspension for conduct detrimental to the league, but has reduced the ban from 10 to 4 games as announced Friday by the NFL.

Could the reduction in the Greg Hardy appeal have an impact on Brady’s appeal? It should, but until we hear from King Roger Goodell we won’t know for sure, however things are about to come to a head again. In an interview on Thursday (July 8) it was reported by sources that the NFL commissioner told CNBC a decision on Brady’s appeal of his four-game suspension “is coming soon,” possibly as early as next week.

In the beginning…

On January 18, 2015 the world changed in the NFL and the clock is still ticking.  For this first time in NFL history an investigation into the air pressure (PSI) of the footballs used in an NFL game was opened (now referred to as “deflate-gate”).  At first everyone scoffed at the thought of this being anything but a farce. However, it quickly got legs (reporter talk) and became a national news story, far exceeding anyone’s expectations.

The original investigation took over four months before the Well’s Report was released and fines/suspensions were handed out.  Patriot’s fans were aghast, while others were crying hang ’em high. A $1M fine and a 1st round draft pick for the Patriots (who, by the way, were exonerated in the report) and an astounding four game suspension for QB Tom Brady.

In the four months it took for the report to be released a lot happened in the world. As training camp approaches, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is still pondering the ultimate fate of Brady. The original decision to suspend him for four games was arrived at when Ted Wells concluded Brady “was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities”

Troy Vincent's comments

Educational Part Of This Article

While we wait, here’s a quick glance at some things you may not know or chose to ignore which occurred while the investigation was under way.  If you honestly remember all 14 you are ready to join Mensa.

February

    • The Patriots, despite all the distractions, won one (try saying that fast five times) of the most exciting Super Bowls in history, 28-24, when unknown rookie Malcolm Butler made a goal line interception with just seconds left on the clock.

Malcolm Butler makes the play courtesy of USAToday Photo courtesy of USAToday.com

  • Dean Smith, former UNC head coach, passed away at 83
  • Researchers developed a robot that could help the US Navy battle shipboard fires
  • Facebook allowed users to bequeath control of their accounts to loved ones when they die (yep, you can now do that…but why?)

…and, after over a month, the NFL investigation continued as the Patriots were left dangling while wild rumors, many inaccurate, spread from “unidentified” sources

March

  • Former CIA Director David Petraeus pled guilty to mishandling classified information (now that’s a crime)
  • The Justice Department formally closed its investigation of Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown. That investigation took 9 months.
  • Apple’s hotly-anticipated smartwatch made it’s debut
  • Kentucky became the first major college basketball team to finish the regular season unbeaten since Indiana in 1976
  • The NFL filed suit seeking evidence gathered against Greg Hardy, the former Carolina Panther defensive end, in a domestic-abuse case. Over three months ago arbitrator Harold Henderson spent almost seven hours hearing evidence and arguments over the NFL’s decision for a 10-game suspension. Henderson ruled today (June 10) that Hardy was guilty…but reduced his suspension from 10 games to 4.

...with over two months of investigation into the deflation of footballs, the NFL still has nothing to report

April

  • Former NE Patriot Tight End Aaron Hernandez was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for his conviction of first-degree murder
  • The Boston Bruins fired general manager Peter Chiarelli four days after the team missed the playoffs
  • Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted on all 30 charges for the attack on the 2013 Boston Marathon

…oh yeah, and, by the way, still nothing new from the NFL

May

    • John Forbes Nash Jr., the Princeton University mathematician whose life story was the subject of the film “A Beautiful Mind,” and his wife of nearly 60 years died in a taxi crash on the New Jersey Turnpike,
    • GiGi Gordon was sentenced to 18 years in prison for manslaughter, after she claimed she murdered her child to prevent him from being sexually tortured (makes sense to me!)

After over 4 months of analyzing information, the Well’s Report was published. It concluded that, although there was no hard evidence, it was more likely than not Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady “was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities” by two team employees that resulted in balls being deflated in January’s AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts.

I don’t think anyone can believe that after four months (since) the AFC championship game, we are still talking about air pressure and the psi in footballs,” Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft stated. “I have two options: I can try and end it, or I can extend it.” After an “emotionally charged couple of weeks,” He decided to reluctantly accept the penalties.

June

Brady & Goodell hug after TB is awarded the Super Bowl MVP award (Photo courtesy of  Jamie Squire / Getty Images
Brady & Goodell hug after TB is awarded the Super Bowl MVP award (Photo courtesy of Jamie Squire / Getty Images

On June 23 Brady met with Commissioner Goodell for the 1st time since being awarded the Super Bowl MVP trophy and this time they weren’t hugging. The meeting lasted almost 10 hours as his appeal was heard. King Goodell (I have promoted him to that rank, but am reviewing that decision) had already ruled that he could make an unbiased decision on whether his previous ruling had been fair and just. That is what is commonly referred to as “both judge, jury and executioner” on his own competency. He is now boxed in and any decision he makes will open even more arguments.

July

So, we now stand-by for his final “unbiased, fair & impartial” ruling as the arbitrator on Brady’s appeal. It’s been almost six months since this fiasco started and we may still be a long way from it’s conclusion. It’s hard to believe Brady would get the same punishment for a feeling he knew about footballs being deflated as Greg Hardy is now getting for a much more serious offense.  The big difference between the Hardy case and Brady’s is a legitimate arbitrator (Not Goodell) ruled, while Goodell is reviewing his own decision on Brady’s appeal.

Judge-Jury-Executioner
Judge-Jury-Executioner

Follow me on twitter @SnowdonBob

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