Seriously… go back and read the title again.
A few times a year, I have to write an article for me. This is one of those articles. The vast majority of my articles are for you, the reader. (And I have around 2100 articles here: Archive.)
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Something didn’t happen more than 500 days ago and it’s still making news.
As Boston Globe article states, “… fatigue is setting in here in New England, and the rest of the country is downright comatose. ‘Enough is enough,’ is all I hear from people on the street.” (Are you still doubting this article’s title?)
We like to think of the legal system as just and right, but the more I look at it, it seems very flawed. I find this frustrating because it seems easy to fix if we could just get rid of the red tape and use some common sense.
I’m going to write a little bit about football, but that’s just necessary background. This transcends football. (I don’t say that lightly because I love football.)
If that link above didn’t give away by now, I’m writing about DeflateGate… the NFL’s accusation that Tom Brady orchestrated a scheme to deflate footballs for some alleged performance enhancement.
As nearly 2 dozen scientists have put together in legal brief the “deflated” footballs are due to the Ideal Gas Law.
How would we feel about the NBA suspending Michael Jordan for 20+ games for defying gravity? At least in that case you could place some kind of direct causation.
Even if you don’t believe in the laws of physics, you are looking at a scenario where you are accusing of a person of orchestrating a scheme to take 0.02 PSI out of footballs (by Peter King’s math).
This is like convicting Bill Gates on no evidence of creating an elaborate scheme to rob a bank to steal 13 cents.
It seems that, legally-speaking, DeflateGate has become about whether an employer can arbitrarily take a person’s paycheck away by being the judge, jury, and executioner. That’s an over-simplification, but it’s a complex topic that would take more than 2,000 words to explain. (Also, I’m not a lawyer, but that’s my understanding from more reading on the topic than anyone should ever do.)
The impacted person of this legal matter (Tom Brady) has no ability to say, “Hey, this is banana pants crazy… can I have a fair trial on the merits of what I’m being accused of?”
That’s what I mean about things being “just and right.” Everyone seems to be arguing about whether an arbitrator can be obviously biased and whether we can create a subset “system” to deny people of their core legal rights.
And that’s probably why the biggest labor union in the US filed a legal brief explaining how the court was wrong and was “lacking in procedural fairness.”
I heard a convincing argument on the radio the other day. It was something like, “If you don’t side with labor unions you are against America.” That’s over the top, but there was grain of truth to it.
These amicus briefs are interesting. These are people who aren’t involved in the case who are saying, “Hey, you got this wrong.”
Scientists and labor unions are on the side of Tom Brady. Anyone else? Yes.
The New England Patriots also filed on the side of Tom Brady. That might seem like common sense to the general population, but this is like Marvel’s Civil War. The Patriots are an NFL franchise and the NFL enjoys a monopoly of televised professional football in America. The Patriots can’t go anywhere else with their business.
Are there more people going out the way to support this injustice? Yes.
Kenneth Feinberg filed a brief as well. Like you, I’ve never heard of him. It seems like his the top arbitrator in the nation. His resume includes arbitrating September 11th terrorist attacks, the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, the Boston Marathon bombings, and the Zapruder film sale. It seems that Kenneth Feinberg is “kind of a big deal“, to borrow a phrase from a friend.
Did anyone else join the party? Yes, 10 law school professors decided to go out their way to side on Brady’s behalf.
Science and scientists, labor unions representing hard working Americans, the top expert in arbitration, and the legal experts (10 law school professors) are all on Brady’s side.
When I look at the NFL’s side, I can’t find anyone who isn’t paid by the NFL supporting it.
Did the laws of physics fail? Are nearly two dozen scientists wrong? Did the alleged infraction matter when Brady followed it up with an MVP-worthy season? Why did the Patriots cause a rift with the NFL for one player? Why are law professors and an extremely distinguished arbitrator upset about this?
I think I know the answers to these questions. Let’s discuss it in the comments. But first, please allow me to bring money into the discussion (this site is about personal finance).
This thing that scientifically never happened has come to an estimated (by ESPN) cost of 22.5 million dollars. That’s just legal fees from the lawyers, I don’t think it counts the costs to the public of the judicial system (the salaries of the judges, for example).
Imagine how much good we could with 22.5 million dollars! How many hungry people does that feed?