Wednesday, May 6, 2015

DeflateGate: If it's good enough for family court, it's good enough for the NFL

In family law, it is called the "Preponderance of the Evidence."

When attorney Ted Wells released his long-awaited report regarding the (still) alleged deflation of footballs by the New England Patriots in last January's AFC Championship Game, his findings took to task the mainstay of awarding money in civil cases.

In claiming the quarterback Tom Brady's knowledge of footballs being deflated was "More probable than not.", Wells took the road most traveled by social workers and family court lawyers in deciding who owes what to whom, effectively dodging any requirement for burden of proof.

After all, this is the NFL, not family court, not civil court and certainly not criminal court.  Had Wells come before a judge in any other type of case than a standard child support hearing with something as weak as "More probable than not.", the case would be thrown out and Wells censured and his reputation smeared.

Ah, but this isn't a court of any consequence.  This is the NFL, an entity that in actuality acts amazingly like the judicial system in the United States, one that goes from doing nothing about a certain issue until public opinion tells them that they should care, then proceeds to break out pitchforks and oil lamps and hunts down every offender that they can get their hands on...

...going from doing nothing at all to doing too much.  It's as American as apple pie, hot dogs and, yes, football.

Wells specifically cited text messages seized God knows how, in which the game official's locker room attendant Jim McNally bantered back and forth on several occasions with Patriots' equipment assistant John Jastremski in which McNally referred to himself as "The Deflater" and consistently demanded  shoes and other items of clothing in exchange for making sure that Brady's footballs were to his specifications.

Problem is, there was no specific measurements involved - no numbers - just some talk about Brady not liking the balls that he had to use in one game last season and that "Tommy sucks" and that he would make the balls feel like "Rugby balls", "Watermelons" and "Balloons" on various occasions, but no specific numbers as to how Brady liked his footballs.

There were, however, many quips about how overinflated McNally would make the footballs if he didn't receive shoes and autographed gear from Brady.

The word coercion comes to mind.

Naturally, despite no hard evidence of doing anything but pissing off McNally, journalists around the country are posting speculation of possible punishment for Brady, ranging from a fine to suspension, most of the journalists going the Ron Borges route and claiming that they've heard this or heard that from their "sources."

Patriots' owner Bob Kraft and Brady's father have fired salvos right back at the league, Kraft stating that his disappointment with the report as being "Grossly understated" and Brady's Dad outright accusing the league of smearing his son's good name and reputation...

...Kraft going so far as to blurt out the 'You can't fight city hall" axiom by stating that "Knowing that there is no recourse available, fighting the league and extending this debate would be futile.", but also went on to fire a shot across Roger Goodell's bow by promising, "We will accept the findings of the report and take the appropriate actions based on those findings as well as any discipline levied by the league."

Translation: Go ahead and try to discipline us, because your stupid and wrong Preponderance of the Evidence isn't going to hold up before an arbitrator.

That kind of stuff holds up in family court every day, as when child support, child custody and taking children away from their parents are before the judge, the wretches from Support Enforcement, Child Protective Services combine efforts with slithering divorce lawyers to deny people their rights under Preponderance of the Evidence, the standard being that the person of interest "More probably than not" can afford to pay this much, "More probably than not" is grooming their children for abuse and neglect and that the other spouse "More probably than not" is an adulterer or adulteress.

But it can't hold up in football, something that Goodell is going to find out the hard way.

Bob Kraft is going to go after after him like a cornered wolverine, a wolverine that has been cornered for four months and has serious retribution on his brain, all because Goodell was caught in the crossfire of a sting operation gone bad, and had no choice but to make a big deal out of it, and settling on a Preponderance of the Evidence was the only way he could come out of it unscathed... least that's what he thought.  And so much for Ted Wells.  Goodell should have known better than to hire a family court hack to do his dirty work.  But hey, if that standard of evidence is good enough for violating the rights of thousands of parents all over the land every year, surely it's good enough for the NFL...

No comments:

Post a Comment