I am a die-hard Patriots fan, and have been for as long as I can remember. I’ve been lucky enough to see my team win 4 Super Bowls in my life, and I sincerely hope I’ll be able to see a few more.
From the time you took over the NFL in 2006 up to January 18, 2015, I had no real qualms with you. I wasn’t thrilled about how you and the league had handled the concussion issue to that point, and obviously some other incidents (*cough* Ray Rice *cough*) stand out, but I understood how hard it was for a person in your position to please everyone, so I gave you the benefit of the doubt. That is, until the 2015 AFC Championship.
As far as the actual game on that brisk Sunday evening in January, as a Pats fan it was pretty standard: we played an inferior team, Belichick and Brady tore them apart mentally, we won by a ton of points, and it was Super Bowl time in Foxboro again. It wasn’t until after the game, when the rumors started flying, that I knew that this game was different.
We’ll skip the year-and-a-half of media hoopla, the blatant misrepresentation of facts and just bald-faced lies your organization fed to the media, and your hand-picking of judges who would side with you, and get to the point. You know he didn’t do anything. You know this whole scheme was made up by a combination of teams the Pats trounced and former Jets employees and it has no merit. You know the general public started to realize this and instead of coming clean, you doubled down and suspended Brady for four games. You know Judge Berman made the completely correct decision in reversing your ruling last September and allowing Brady to play. And you know the US Appeals Court just did the wrong thing in reinstating said four game suspension. You know it, I know it, the entire league knows it. But for some reason, you’re just refusing to act like it.
Instead, you’re throwing a ticker-tape parade. You’re going on talk shows, radio programs, anywhere that’ll take you and talking about what a great decision the court just made. You’re insisting that the Wells Report was based on an independent investigation; it wasn’t! You’ve admitted that! You’ve manipulated the court system to essentially allow you to do whatever you want to whomever you want with no just cause or repercussions whatsoever. And you know what? We’re not going to stand for it.
I think you might’ve thought Pats Nation would be so sick of Deflategate and the coverage of it that we’d roll over and accept defeat. Oh, we’re sick of it alright; but we’re not going anywhere. You think the boos at the Draft last week were bad? The second you so much as step foot in New England for the rest of your life, you’re going to have a headache from all the boos. I will never miss a chance to yell “Free Brady” or “Fire Goodell” for as long as I live. And I feel no remorse, because you did this, not me.
You’ve been proven wrong so many times, I genuinely don’t know how you can insist you’ve been truthful. Science has proved you wrong, investigations have proved you wrong, and overall common sense has made it literally impossible for this to have happened at all, never mind per Brady’s requests. But still, you refuse to acknowledge your wrongdoing. And the rest of the league is starting to take notice.
You’re quickly losing respect around the NFL. Players are starting to feel like they can’t trust you. You run the most successful, most profitable sports organization in North America, and you have less respect than anyone I know. That can’t feel good, can it?
The good thing is, there’s still time. Yeah it won’t look great off the bat to admit you’ve been lying for a year and a half and reinstate the greatest quarterback of all-time, but people forget, and legacies can be salvaged. Look at Ray Lewis, or Kobe Bryant, or Peyton Manning. Did they all have some not-so-great allegations surrounding them? Yes, but when they made the decision to call it quits they were respected for their performances, not criticized for their pasts. So, Mr. Goodell, you’ve got a decision to make: Do the right thing and possibly salvage your legacy, or live in infamy throughout New England for the rest of your life. And you can ask Alex Rodriguez, or LeBron James, or any number of athletes who have rubbed us the wrong way over the years: that second one isn’t very fun.