Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Goodell, Brady have damaged reputations, need to settle


As is often the case when two people hate each other, Roger Goodell and Tom Brady have a lot more in common than they probably realize or would care to admit: 1) They’re both obstinate and believe they can do no wrong: 2) They’re both wrong.

Goodell and Brady, with each probably burning holes in the other with fiery glares Wednesday, met in a settlement hearing in a New York court room. There was no settlement, but also no casualties. U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman urged both sides to reach a settlement over the “DeflateGate” matter because otherwise he would to it for them, leaving at least one party unhappy (and most likely both).

“I think there are varying strengths to both sides here,” he said.

He’s right. Goodell and Brady need to settle and get this over with because it has lasted for an absurd length of time. The story of Brady allegedly throwing intentionally under inflated footballs broke seven months ago following the AFC title game between New England and Indianapolis in January. It’s not quite the length of the Watergate investigation but it’s moving in that direction.

Goodell, using his unilateral super powers, has suspended Brady for the first four games of the seasons. I’m guessing that will be reduced. It should be. Here’s why:

• WHY GOODELL NEEDS TO CAVE: He’s the man. He knows he’s the man. The CBA appears to make him the man in every way possible. Problem is he hasn’t looked good at various stages of this process and this is after he looked very bad in the Ray Rice case. Goodell seemingly hasn’t taken responsibility for ESPN being leaked false information for a report that stated 11 of the Patriots’ 12 footballs’ in the AFC title game were under inflated by two PSI (which proved to be an overstatement). It’s logical to assume the commissioner also is holding “Spygate” and other instances of the Patriots coloring outside the lines against them. And, well, he doesn’t like when people are less than honest with him – ask Michael Vick -- and Brady certainly has come off as less than honest.

• WHY BRADY NEEDS TO CAVE: He cheated. Of course he cheated. I don’t care if the Wells’ investigation was financed by the NFL, nor do I care if that one ESPN report was wrong. There’s certainly enough evidence to suggest Brady ordered that air be taken out of footballs, most notably in the text message exchange between two Patriots employees  that is contained in the Wells’ report. Is this the worst offense in the sports world? No. But as we’ve learned, the lying and the cover-up often are worse than the crime. Had Brady said from the outset, “I did it,” or even maintained that he didn’t fully understand the rule but admitted some measure of culpability, it wouldn’t have gotten nearly this far. He might not have even been suspended. So what is he protecting? His legacy, of course. His ego is getting in the way of clear rational thought. But the best way for Brady to limit further damage is to end this and agree to a settlement.

Reducing the suspension to two games seems fair. NFL players have been suspended four games for far worse things than deflating footballs.

Goodell and Brady both need to repair their images. A settlement would be a good place to start.

This is still the most entertaining thing to come out of "DeflateGate"


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About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.