Bill Simmons still can’t get over the NFL’s handling of Deflategate.
The former ESPN personality appeared on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Rich” on Thursday to discuss several topics, including the New England Patriots’ underinflated football scandal. Simmons, a Massachusetts native and a huge Boston sports fan, ripped NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the league for what he described as “a comedy of errors.”
“I really think this is a sports documentary at some point in the next 20 years,” Simmons said of Deflategate. “How the NFL handled this was insane. Just absolutely insane. They are still appealing this. What are you appealing?”
The NFL fined the Patriots $1 million for Deflategate and took away a first-round draft pick in 2016 and a fourth-round pick in 2017. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady also was suspended four games for his alleged involvement, though that suspension since has been nullified in federal court. The league now is appealing U.S. District Court Judge Richard Berman’s decision to vacate Brady’s suspension.
The whole thing has been a mess from the beginning. And Simmons, who earlier this month blasted ESPN’s Deflategate coverage, wonders whether Goodell’s punishment was so harsh because he often has been viewed as buddy-buddy with Patriots owner Robert Kraft and wanted to change the script.
“The way the NFL handled it each time, which is smart if you’re devious, was if you get your story out first, people will buy that version,” Simmons said. “The same thing happened to me in May — ESPN got their version out first and I wasn’t able to say anything.
“The way the NFL handled it was just bizarre, and it had to be the other owners badgering Goodell for eight years, that Kraft had him in his pocket and he was Kraft’s puppet. I really think that’s how it played out, and he just snapped.”
Simmons is a homer. There’s no denying that. But it doesn’t take a New England homer to poke holes in how Goodell and the NFL handled Deflategate, regardless of the Patriots’ innocence or guilt.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@BostonGlobe
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