The last you’ll hear about deflategate…hopefully

Ray Bressette

The NFL is in the middle of its four-game preseason schedule, just two weeks away from the regular season kickoff which marks the end of a long-awaited spring and summer for the diehard football fans. re-unnamed

Instead of the Green Bay Packers stealing the headlines with their 11/2 odds to win the Super Bowl, or the dramatic return of Adrian Peterson for the Minnesota Vikings after a one-year suspension, everyone around the league is still caught up in the same draining topic they were six months ago: deflated balls.

By now, the story is infamous. In the 2014 AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts this past January, it was discovered that the Patriots were using footballs that were deflated, giving star quarterback Tom Brady an advantage with his throws. The Patriots would go on to win the contest 45-7, and then the Super Bowl two weeks later, their fourth championship in 14 years.

However, their success was overshadowed by the league’s confirmation that 11 of the 12 balls used in the conference championship game were deflated. Brady and the Patriots of course denied tampering with the balls, claiming the cold New England winter weather changed the balls’ pressures, which would kick off the six-month frenzy on the situation.

An NFL investigation discovered that the Patriots locker room attendant Jim McNally tampered with the balls in the team’s bathroom, dropping the ball’s pressure at Brady’s request.

The league requested Brady turn over his cell phone to search for text messages to and from McNally, and Brady destroyed his phone immediately, ruining any chance for the league to fully confirm the accusations.

The NFL then suspended Brady for the Patriots’ first four games of the 2015 season for his role in what’s been deemed “deflategate.” Brady appealed his suspension in mid-June, but NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stood firmly by the league’s original ruling on the matter.

Brady released a statement after losing his appeal, saying, “It is disappointing that the Commissioner upheld my suspension based upon a standard that it was ‘probable’ that I was ‘generally aware’ of misconduct. The fact is that neither I, nor any equipment person, did anything of which we have been accused.”

So, Brady did what all individuals who feel they’ve been violated from a higher power do: took them to federal court.

Since the court hearings began on Aug. 12, Judge Richard Berman has pushed the two sides to come to a settlement. And while both sides are refusing to budge, it’s the right thing to do.

For Brady, destroying his phone was a red flag for the remaining fans that believed he could be innocent. If Brady would have told the league to shove it get a subpoena, it would have protected his career’s integrity. But instead, he smashed his phone to pieces, which is what a cheating boyfriend or girlfriend does when they have something to hide.

As for the NFL, they are going off a wells report which claims that “more probable than not, the New England Patriots equipment personnel were deliberately circumventing the rules.”

More probable than not, but no “smoking gun,” as Brady’s attorney Jeffrey Kessler claimed, and he has a point.

Both sides have an argument that can win in court. But the one thing they should both be able to agree upon is that Brady destroyed crucial evidence in the investigation in destroying his cell phone. I believe a fair compromise would be to cut Brady’s suspension in half to two games or even one for obstruction of justice.

For the NFL, they still caught and disciplined a man who tarnished the integrity of the game, and everyone would know that’s what his true punishment would be for.

With Brady, he will come back sooner than planned with more than enough opportunity to win an AFC East Division, which is not very competitive with or without Brady at the helm of it, and he will certainly have a shot at reaching his fifth Super Bowl championship this season.

Let’s just hope we’re not talking about pressure swing absorption (PSA) this time around.