What’s the deal with ball inflation?
A lot of things about Deflategate have been comical, but one expert observer has been watching the proceedings with the same detached amusement he’d have watching a sitcom. That’s because Major League Baseball special counsel John Dowd all but expects Cosmo Kramer to burst through the door at any moment.
“I still don’t know what this is about,” Dowd said in an email to The Washington Post’s Sally Jenkins. “Like ‘Seinfeld,’ (Deflategate) is about nothing.”
Well, Deflategate ostensibly is about New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady being “generally aware” of a scheme to deflate footballs below the NFL’s legal limits to gain a competitive advantage. Lacking any direct evidence of this, however, the NFL suspended Brady for four games anyway based on the independent Wells Report’s finding it was “more probable than not” Brady was involved.
But Dowd, who led MLB’s investigation into Pete Rose betting on baseball, termed NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s accusation that Brady “destroyed” his cell phone “an ambush. … The entire NFL disciplinary process lacks integrity and fairness.”
Dowd and Jenkins scoff at Goodell circling back — “like watching a kid do a Spirograph” — on Brady’s cell phone, which investigator Ted Wells said didn’t “(undermine) in any way the conclusions of the report,” but which then became the basis for Goodell rejected Brady’s appeal. The NFL never informed Brady or his lawyers that failure to produce the phone would be cause for discipline later, which appears to compromise the league’s legal ground.
“The NFL commissioner has denied Tom Brady the fundamental right to a notice of charge and the right to defend against it,” Dowd told Jenkins.
We’re not lawyers, but that certainly sounds like language Brady’s legal team might use as his petition proceeds through U.S. District Court in New York.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images