Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Paolantonio Report Signals Awakening Of Media To Brady's Innocence

"History is hard to know because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of 'history' it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody understands at the time - and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened." Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
Hunter S. Thompson loathed many more things than he actually feared, but one of his greatest fears was for the future of print media by being left in the hands of lazy journalists - people that he referred to as "dullards, bums and hacks, hag-ridden with myopia, and complacence, and generally stuck in a bog of stagnant mediocrity."

He knew. He saw it coming.

Thankfully for him, he isn't around to see his words become so prophetic, but in purely selfish curiosity, it would be interesting to hear his take on the evil and wrong Deflategate saga.  For certain, he would have thrown himself right into the fray and given Roger Goodell a taste of the whip that he wouldn't soon forget...

...and Ted Wells and the Wells' Report would have driven him purely crazy.  Thompson's best work was when covering the Watergate hearings back in the mid-1970's, his hatred for Richard Nixon exceeded only by his disgust for the working press, whom he saw as the scribes that would record history for posterity, and only a select few were up to the task.

But even with this fine quote from the good doctor rising from the grave he blasted himself into ten years ago, it could be construed that he was speaking of the Wells report, particularly the last line - because it never explains, in retrospect, what actually happened.

Fortunately for him, and for all who value justice, there are the learned folks at the American Enterprise Institute...


Good news travels fast.

Well, at least good news that is a month old, when finally corroborated by a respected right-wing Washington think tank.

The American Enterprise Institute sent shock waves through the world of professional football on Friday afternoon when they released their own independent report on the New England Patriots being mired in the throes of the so-called "Deflategate" scandal - but not a report on the scandal itself, rather, the Institute took to task the findings of the NFL-sanctioned investigation.

While stopping just short of calling the Well's Report an outright fraud, the Institute (heretofore dubbed "AEI") nevertheless jabbed at the report like a fresh fighter opposing a tired and old pugilist, before rocking the veteran with a roundhouse square to the grill - and now while Investigator Ted Wells crawls shakily on the canvas searching blindly for his mouthpiece, the national media are taking to their keyboards to report that the grizzled old attorney has met his match.

But this wasn't the first time we've heard that the Wells report was a biased, inconsistent witch hunt - at least, it's not the first time for some.

In it's letter of appeal to the National Football league over a month ago, the Player's Union (NFLPA to the uninitiated) issued a scathing retort to the penalties imposed on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, calling his four-game suspension, "grossly inconsistent with the League's prior disciplinary treatment of similar alleged conduct." and that "no player in the history of the NFL has ever received anything approaching this level of discipline for similar behavior."

But that just deals with the penalties imposed as a result of the Wells report that the letter from the NFLPA dismisses as grasping at "dubious, contradictory and mischaracterized circumstantial evidence merely to conclude that it is 'more probable than not' that Mr. Brady was 'generally aware of inappropriate activities'."

But, the question looms: why now?

For five months, the Patriots and Brady have been taking gut shot after gut shot from the media regarding the ball deflation saga, then taking a nearly mortal blow from the league when they released the Well's Report, an event that came with plenty of pomp and circumstance, and also with an automatic indictment against Brady and the team.

As you might expect, the repercussions from that report had even Patriots fans backbiting each other in wake of the severe penalties handed down by the league - and with plenty of former players and media around the country suggesting that Brady should just be a man, accept his punishment, then move on.

Some felt it prudent to come to Brady's defense, but their backhanded remarks felt awkward and accusatory.  It won't affect his legacy, some would say - but apparently Brady feels that isn't good enough.

On Tuesday morning, ESPN reporter Sal Paolantonio published a gushing report over some fresh information coming out of Patriot Place, saying that Tom Brady will settle for nothing less than full exoneration, and that the normally demure Bob Kraft was boasting that he fully expects Brady to be on the field and playing in the Patriots' season opener.

Paolantonio quoted directly from the letter from the NFLPA, using the "dubious, contradictory and mischaracterized circumstantial evidence" cited from the letter to it's full journalistic effect and, suddenly, websites and newspapers are reporting the content of that letter as if it were fresh and new, not a month-old document that they should have been more than generally aware of...

...and Brady should settle for nothing less than a full pardon, and Kraft should expect the face of his franchise to be the standard bearer on that Thursday night opener, when the team will unfurl its fourth championship banner in front of a national television audience on a night reserved for the league champion - a homecoming, if you will.

But long after that game is over, and forever on the internet - remember, there's no place to hide - the journalists, players and fans who found it easier to attack the integrity of both Brady and Kraft - indeed, the entire Patriots' organization - instead of taking the high road and actually examining the Well's Report and the resultant the letter from the NFLPA will always remember the day that the report from AEI forced them to acknowledge their own deficiencies.

For the journalists, that means taking a look at how you research a story, not just how easy it is to copy and paste from your IPhone.  For the players, it means don't throw rocks in your own glass houses by making self-indictments or accusatory, holier-than-thou soliloquies that you hope sounds like having someone's back - and for the fans, it means don't take either group's word for anything. Investigate for yourself before turning on a player like Brady based on the words of lazy journalists and players desperate to get decades-old skeletons out of their own closets.

Don't take my word for it.  For all you know I could be a lazy plagiarist with a hidden agenda or who deliberately misleads folks for my own gain - which I don't, but how do you know that?

In the end, however, Dr. Thompson's words resonate.  They make us wonder if our great grandchildren will ever know what actually happened in the first half of the year of our lord 2015, when the greatest quarterback of that generation - perhaps ever - was accused of and suspended for "more likely than not being generally aware." of the actions of Patriots' equipment personnel being involved in the deflation of footballs.

They will see that very few journalists, players and fans took the time to absorb the evidence before first issuing an indictment of said greatest quarterback, and then proclaiming his innocence once a group of well-read individuals from a political think tank decided that enough was enough, did their own investigating, and came to a conclusion that ripped the Wells Report to shreds.

It is shameful to think that this is our legacy, and that our recorded history is left to the hands of dullards, bums and hacks - but it is, as they say, what it is.  It is entirely possible that history will remember this episode as lore, much as we romanticize sports scandals of the past in our own generation - maybe they will even look at the way that we attach the suffix "gate" to any indiscretion and call us all unimaginative dullards.

Regardless, if Tom Brady and Bob Kraft and millions of Patriots' fans have their way, the only thing that is going to be suspended at Gillette Stadium on that early September night are the four Super Bowl banners suspended from the railings on Champions' Bridge...

"For every moment of triumph, for every instance of beauty, many souls must be trampled."


  1. Very well written and informative article. What the writer forgot to mention was the fact that in spite of the upcoming exoneration of Brady and the Patriots...the harm has already been done to their
    reputation and character. What sort of punishment should be levied against those responsible for this
    calamity? They should pay for their indiscretion!

    1. Dr. Velez, I am going to cover that in an article this weekend. I believe that in the sake of fostering amnity with the NFL, that Brady is going to name selected individuals in a civil defamation suit. - among those persons should be, but not limited to, Mike Kensil, Deam Blandino and Ted Wells.

  2. Haters gonna hate, gate or no gate !
    Behind every successful person, company, team lies in the wait a plethora of envious haters!