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Of Bill and Brady

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I didn't get as much writing done this week. I was a little blocked, but I had a bunch of other priorities to take care of.

Since it is Saturday, I'm going to test something a little new... something not related to money. Consider it bonus reading.

In reading the news this I found a story that showed, Bill Cosby had been accused of sexual assault multiple times nearly 10 years ago. It seems like for nearly 10 years the public didn't notice.

As more and more accusers came on over the last several months, I blocked it out. I couldn't reconcile these things with Bill Cosby. Fat Albert and Dr. Huxtable would be shocked at all these accusations. At 39, I understand that these are simply characters, but the characters have become synonymous with the man. I don't think I'm alone in having difficulty redefining a viewpoint that has been established for decades.

At the same time, I've been enthralled by everything that's come out about DeflateGate. I'm originally from the Boston area. I've been a Patriots fan since before they were 1-15 embarrassment that sexually harassed a female reporter in the locker room. I have no tolerance for sexual harassment. That was a team that was easy to hate.

I don't want to get too much into DeflateGate, but unfortunately I'm going to have to. The objective coverage is very different that what was reported on the national news back in January.

I'm sure that most people don't want to read more, but it is very important to the point I want to make at the end.

Houston Texan's fan and lawyer Steph Stradley covers it quite well. By now we know that science shows no deflating of footballs occurred. That's from an independent unpaid source, which is a whole lot better than the well-known science-for-hire firm Exponent (according to the LA Times). Of course it is also statistically impossible balls were deflated and it required. Additionally, the NFL had to conclude the referee's memory was wrong about the gauge used, because that would have also exonerated the Patriots.

Why wouldn't the NFL want to exonerate the Patriots? Because it appears they've orchestrated the witch hunt in the first place. It wasn't a big story until "league sources" leaked to ESPN's Chris Mortensen that 11 of the 12 Patriots footballs were 2 pounds PSI under the legal limit. This information was not only false, but the Patriots BEGGED the league to correct it... and they didn't. Maybe the NFL liked being the first story in national news getting attention on Saturday Night Live. It sure seemed like that was case, because they could have deflated the story by releasing the correct information that only they had.

As DeadSpin reports Chris Mortensen won't disclose who the lying source is. I used to like Mortensen, but I don't see why he'd have allegiance to those who lie to him. A respectable journalist would out that source as untrustworthy to send a message to all sources that you better not use reporters to defame others. Deadspin writes:

"Whoever Mort heard this from, it’s someone powerful enough that he can’t afford to burn them, because he’ll need that source in the future. This is the devil’s bargain made all sports league “insiders” like Mortensen: being plugged-in means they always run the risk of being used for their sources’ agendas—and every once in a while, just rarely enough to maintain trust—their sources’ lies."

I guess it does make sense why Mortensen doesn't talk. He needs to be on the NFL's league office good side if he's going to get truthful information in the future.

By why would the NFL have an agenda against the Patriots? The strong rumor is that the NFL's Mike Kensil was Mortensen's source. Mike Kensil has long worked for Patriots rival the NY Jets... especially during a time when Patriots coach Bill Belichick spurned the organization. Kensil's father, Jim Kensil, was the President of the Jets.

Kensil at halftime reportedly said to the Patriots equipment manager: "We weighed the balls. You are in big f------ trouble." Obviously that's unprofessional behavior, but beyond that, it is strong evidence of a witch hunt. He certainly wasn't qualified to do the mathematical analysis in a rushed halftime that didn't allow the NFL to check all the Colt's footballs.

It's clear that Goodell had something to gain in this. He's had a very tough year starting with the Ray Rice incident. The best way for him to restore his image is punish a team that most of the nation loves to hate. After all, the Patriots have routinely beat the rest of the NFL over the last 14 years. They are still believed to have a "history of cheating" based on 2007's SpyGate (which other teams were doing) even though they have only two players from that time on their roster. Many of the coaches are different as well.

However as the Washington Post points out In trying to restore his authority through DeflateGate, Roger Goodell undermined his credibility.

The NFL realized that it was getting nowhere with the deflated footballs. When science proves it didn't happen, it is hard to indict a team. This is when they changed the story to it being about Brady's cooperation. The independent report that the NFL paid $5 million dollar for said that Brady was "totally cooperative."

Brady upgraded his phone and destroyed his old phone as all celebrities are advised to do. This gave the NFL a new straw to grasp at. They didn't want the phone before. They had all the communications from other Patriots employees. Brady gave them all the phone numbers and times of texts. He identified the 28 people associated with the NFL, so that the NFL could contact them. The NFL said that it would be too much work.

Of course the NFL is overstepping its bounds in asking for the phone in the first place. As Brady is part of a player's union that protects the players and their privacy, it would be terrible if Brady set the precedent that the NFL can accuse and demand a player give up its privacy.

Goodell asked Brady to bring new information to his appeal. Of course, since science concluded that nothing occurred there's no evidence to bring. Goodell gave Brady a fool's errand.

The aforementioned lawyer, Steph Stradley illustrates how it doesn't matter what you say, you're still going to be guilty.

Throughout this whole thing, many have asked Brady to just admit wrongdoing and take the punishment and move on. As many others have pointed out, this is like accepting a life sentence for being merely suspected of jay-walking. No reasonably intelligent person would take the punishment and no reasonably intelligent person should make such a statement.

Comparing Bill Cosby and Tom Brady

It probably doesn't make much to compare the two, but I find it interesting how easy we've lost objectivity.

We have a culture that can ignore dozens of rape accusations if the alleged raper is funny and personable. We ignore the issue for a decade.

On the other hand, we are going on a witch hunt to nail Tom Brady who has been a squeaky clean ideal NFL ambassador for his 15 year career. It's unfathomable that he might have told some equipment people to remove air of footballs. And though there's no evidence of him having anything to do with it or that air was let out of footballs at all, we'll throw the book at him.

When you put them both together it seems really crazy right? That's cognitive dissonance for you. And if nothing else, hopefully you'll take a minute to read about the term and understand how crazy us humans can be.

Posted on August 1, 2015.

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