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The Real NFL Scandal Has Nothing To Do With 'Deflate-Gate'

The investigation into whether the Patriots participated in a "deliberate effort" to release air from their game balls diverts attention from the real controversy plaguing the league. (Manuel Valdes/AP)MoreCloseclosemore
The investigation into whether the Patriots participated in a "deliberate effort" to release air from their game balls diverts attention from the real controversy plaguing the league. (Manuel Valdes/AP)

On Wednesday, Ted Wells, the man leading the NFL’s investigation into the nefarious business involving the less-that-entirely-inflated footballs Tom Brady of the New England Patriots threw so well during the AFC Championship game last season, made public his findings.

He found that the Patriots “likely participated in a deliberate effort to release air” from their game balls, and that Tom Brady was probably aware of it.

A more cogent concern might be whether, when he is 65, Tom Brady will be able to tell a football from a watermelon.

“Likely?” “Probably?”

What sort of conclusion is that to an investigation?

Most people who don’t already hate the Patriots are “likely” to regard the whole exercise as “probably” silly.

No wonder Pats owner Robert Kraft said “the effort and resources expended to reach this conclusion are incomprehensible to me.”

I’m with Robert Kraft on this one. Sort of. The multibillion-dollar corporation known as the National Football League has acknowledged that about 30 percent of the men it employs will suffer brain damage as a result of the work they do. Those former players are at greater risk regarding dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Former employees of the corporation experience bankruptcy at a greater rate than people who’ve chosen other occupations, and the older NFL veterans have been shamefully neglected by their former employers and by the union that represents current players. Former players get divorced a lot. Criminal activity associated with current and former employees of the corporation includes domestic abuse, child abuse, weapons violations, drug violations and the odd murder or attempted murder.

Most people who don’t already hate the Patriots are 'likely' to regard the whole exercise as 'probably' silly.

It is “incomprehensible” to me that these concerns have received so little attention from the NFL compared to the comprehensive investigation of whether the footballs in play when the Patriots beat the Colts were properly inflated, and assuming they were not, to what extent it was Tom Brady’s doing. A more cogent concern might be whether, when he is 65, Tom Brady will be able to tell a football from a watermelon.

Mr. Kraft also said he’s decided to rely on “the factual evidence of numerous scientists.” Although the scientists to whom he refers did not go so far as to conclude that Tom Brady is a great guy who has never done anything wrong, on or off the football field, they did suggest that footballs tend to lose pressure in cold weather…which sounds like science to me. It would be real news if Mr. Kraft were to extend his reliance on scientists to the various medical authorities who’ve suggested that the game over which he presides is dangerous enough so that parents shouldn’t let their young children play it.

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Bill Littlefield Twitter Host, Only A Game
Bill Littlefield was the host of Only A Game from 1993 until 2018.

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