Now I know you're all probably thinking "not another deflategate article" or "let it die already," but I promise this isn't just another hot take. With the end of his 4 game suspension, and Brady returning to the lineup for Sunday's game against the Browns this seems to be the definitive end of a long and exhausting saga in NFL history. To many, Pats fans and otherwise, this may seem a relief. Many would love to move past this played out story and get on with the season. But my question is this: Should we let Deflateegate die? My answer is a resounding NO. You see, in the aftermath of that AFC championship game, this story evolved into so much more than whether or not Tom did anything wrong. For those who took a vested interest in this issue, who spent long nights dissecting the data and pouring over the Wells Report, it became abundantly clear that this was about so much more than the air pressure in the footballs.
For those of you who don't know, here in the United States of America, citizens are viewed as innocent until proven beyond a doubt guilty. However, Tom Brady was condemned based upon a biased arbitrator and a report that could only come forward with an assertion that it was "more probable than not" that Brady violated rules. This case would be laughed out of court if it came in front of a judge, and it essentially was by Judge Berman in September of last year. You can view the full text of his ruling here. However, as this case continued, and was appealed by Goodell it evolved into a labor relations case. Without going into the full details, essentially the courts ruled that the NFLPA in their collective bargaining agreement gave Goodell the power to conduct a biased investigation without a neutral arbitrator and did not need definitive evidence to inflict punishment upon players. Ultimately, Tom Brady's suspension wasn't about whether or not a few footballs lost PSI, but if Roger Goodell could call himself the Judge, Jury, and Executioner without repercussion.
Santayana wrote (in The Life of Reason, 1905) “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Deflategate should be a lesson to all in contractual negotiations and in life. You can not, for any reason, concede basic and impartial arbitration and investigation. Remember the wrongdoings of Deflategate. Let them live on as a cautionary tale, and as an embarrassment to the League. Brady, the Patriots, and Pats fans should feel no shame, and no culpability for any wrongdoing. Let that burden fall upon the shoulders of the NFLPA, Roger Goodell, and all those who falsely reported and distracted from the truth of the issues such as ESPN. Do not go gentle into that good night. Patriots Nation does not forgive. Patriots Nation does not forget. Call me bitter, call me biased, but don't call me if you let it happen again.