In the 2014-2015 AFC Championship the New England Patriots easily manhandled the Indianapolis Colts, and sparked controversy after it was revealed that they had cheated by deflating 11 of their 12 game balls. I have heard many ask how much the cheating actually mattered. The Patriots were clearly the better team, and had they not cheated they certainly would have won. To me that fact is irrelevant because they did cheat. Quarterback Tom Brady, Coach Bill Belichick, owner Robert Kraft, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell are all under scrutiny over their actions pertaining to what is known as “deflategate.”
The NFL has a “Personal Conduct Policy,” which requires integrity and honesty from those associated with the NFL, which includes players, coaches, owners, and the NFL Commissioner. Those who cheat are subject to penalties. Eight years ago the Patriots were fined and lost draft picks for deflating balls. As a repeat offense, it is clear that the integrity of the New England Patriots organization has been compromised, and as such must be punished.
In another sport, on July 26, 1986 boxer Mike Tyson knocked out Marvis Frazier in thirty seconds, and recorded the fastest knockout ever. Imagine that months prior to the match Mike Tyson had used steroids, would that have changed the outcome of the match? Imagine that he had knocked out Frazier in 15 seconds instead of 30 after cheating. Frazier never had a chance to win, but had Tyson been caught he would have been severely penalized if not banned from the sport, and Frazier would have won by disqualification. The New England Patriots were clearly the better team, so there was no reason to cheat. Nonetheless, they too should face the consequences of their actions.
Roger Goodell’s non-decision to penalize the Patriots prior to the Superbowl is a clear indication that his rapport with his owners is more important than his integrity. Goodell had an opportunity to make a stand against cheating, and he chose not to take it. Goodell will probably issue penalties after the Superbowl, which is yet another lost opportunity to do what is right. In a year where Goodell faces scrutiny for so many other allogations, including the Ray Rice scandal, the Redskins controversy, and the controversy surrounding concussions, I would think that he would take this controversy more seriously. Cheaters never prosper, and someday Goodell the New England Patriots organization, and the NFL will reap their rewards. Until, then let us reward those who cheat.
*note to reader: I am a huge sports fan, including football.