Tom Brady has been suspended for the first four games of the 2015 NFL season. This we know.
The only question now is, will the suspension stand?
“I don’t see the four-game suspension standing up,” former NFL quarterback and current Yahoo! Sports NFL analyst Shaun King said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I personally think it’s a complete witch hunt. I’ve said previously on your guys’ show that the culture that exists in the NFL is one that allows quarterbacks to manipulate footballs to their liking. Every quarterback gets in the room with his equipment manager and does it. And so unless you have concrete evidence that Tom Brady said specifically, ‘I want the balls to be deflated below the PSI level that’s allowed,’ (it’s hard to suspend him).
“I’m going to be honest,” King continued. “I’ve started at quarterback in the National Football League. I was the guy responsible for picking the balls. I never had a conversation with anybody – management, referee, equipment person, other quarterback – about the PSI level that’s allowed in the football. So it’s hard for me to fathom that Brady said, ‘Stick a needle in the ball and make them 12.3 instead of 12.5.’ I just think he said, ‘I like my balls with a little give in them.’ That’s his preference.”
Brandon Tierney and Tiki Barber have conflicting viewpoints on this. In Tierney’s mind, if Brady didn’t do anything, just say you didn’t do anything. Barber, however, said you cannot assume someone is guilty just because he or she does not vehemently defend himself or herself. Tierney disagrees. To him, perception is reality.
“Guys, I really feel like Brady feels like this is beneath him,” King interjected, “and I can understand him. This is so petty. I mean, this is unbelievably petty. This is petty to the point where it’s happened three times . . . and we never heard a peep about any of those times. (It happened) with San Diego, Arizona and Carolina. That’s how petty this is. Why wasn’t it a big deal then?”
That’s a valid question, but John Elway and Kurt Warner, among others, have spoken out against Brady, saying that what he did is a problem. If luminaries like that find fault with Brady, how can we say it’s petty?
“That’s fair,” King said. “I guess me and Tiki are on the other side. I asked Kurt Warner on Twitter, and he never really responded to me. I said, ‘Kurt, did you play with the footballs directly out of the box?’”
No, of course not. No one does.
“Kurt got in the room, and Kurt picked out the balls that he likes,” King said. “Kurt has no idea if those balls were in between 13.5 and 12.5 PSI.”
Either way, the NFL has the most dramatic reality show on television right now – in the middle of the offseason, no less. King does not think that is coincidence.
“The NHL and NBA are in the middle of their playoffs and all you see is Deflategate,” King said. “I don’t think that’s by chance or happenstance. I feel like it’s intentional. Why all of a sudden at the midpoint in the NFL offseason did this come out?”
True, but no one is forcing people to talk about it.
Then again, it’s impossible not to.
“This is the most hated franchise in all of the National Football League,” King said. “Let me explain why. If the Patriots aren’t cheating, then that means that Bob Kraft and Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are smarter than everybody else in the National Football League. So they’re the only organization that’s won at that high of a level on a consistent basis for the last 14 years. I think there are a lot of people in positions of power that can’t come to grips with that organization being that much smarter than everybody else. They have to find a way to pick at their success.”