The NFL has once again made itself look bad in the public eye. Roger Goodell and the league lost face once again when a judge overruled their decision to suspend Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for the first four games of the upcoming season.
Brady was suspended for his involvement in the Deflategate scandal. Judge Richard Berman stated that there was no clear evidence linking Brady to the incident.
Brady went to court to settle the matter and looked to have his suspension revoked. The judge looked to have the two sides settle, but the NFL wouldn’t budge. Justice was delivered afterwards, as Berman threw out Brady’s suspension on the grounds of a lack of fair due process for the Patriots quarterback. Brady’s suspension was lifted, leaving the NFL to wonder where it went wrong.
During Goodell’s tenure as NFL commissioner, there has been plenty of controversy regarding his decisions involving punishments given to players. He has proven to be inconsistent when delivering punishments, drawing criticism from fans across the country.
This entire issue has been overhyped and overblown since it came to light. Spygate was a much bigger issue than Deflategate, but the NFL did not continiously pursue that matter. In fact, NFL officials destroyed evidence in that scandal. And now Brady is criticized for doing the same by getting rid of his cell phone. Now the league wants to make a bigger issue of this current scandal because of the backlash they received back in 2008 in the aftermath of Spygate.
The inconsistency of the NFL and how it handles its cases needs to stop for the better of the league and the players. Earlier in the season, Ray Rice was suspended two games for hitting his fiancé. It was not until an actual video of the incident was released to the public that the NFL decided to enact a harsher punishment, all to save face. Multiple reports claimed that the NFL and Goodell had seen the video before it went public, but did not increase the punishment until after it had gone viral.
This is not how to treat punishments of misconduct. The NFL’s public image is clearly its top priority, yet they continue to look worse with each passing controversy.
If the NFL wants to shed a more positive light on itself, they need to learn how to be consistent with their rulings. It will be better for the league and the players as a whole.