For months after the Super Bowl, it was difficult not to know where Tom Brady was. He was in Costa Rica, and then made a cameo in the Entourage movie. The Super Bowl MVP went cliff jumping, and was the first to report to the Patriots’ optional workouts. In one day, he was at the Kentucky Derby and the Manny Pacquiao-Flyod Mayweather fight. The world even knew when he got buried in the sand. It was a Patriot Act-esque encroachment on privacy, though he welcomed the attention promoting his whereabouts with his Facebook account.
Then on May 6th, he was gone. Following the Wells Report which exonerated Bill Belichick from wrongdoing, Brady became the main and only course of the NFL’s Deflategate dinner. And he responded by disappearing.
Since the Wells report, media members — particularly New England-centric ones — have refuted the credibility of the Wells report. And there’s a lot to be said for that argument. CSNNE’s Jimmy Toscano made an excellent point about inconsistencies with the gauges. Doug Kyed points other flaws in the NFL’s argument. It also seems that balls can gain .7 PSI after 13 minutes at room temperature. The Patriots’ balls were an average of .76 PSI lower than the Colts’ at halftime. So, were they gauged 13 minutes after the Patriots balls? Maybe. Plus, quarterbacks of the past and present have acknowledged doctoring a football is a common-place, which checks the everyone-does-it box. And there are rumors that referees overinflated Brady’s balls beyond the legal limit in Week 7 against the Jets — which indicates their degree of negligence and carelessness at is pertains to measuring balls — so Brady responded by deflating the balls back to the legal limit (which, by the way, is illegal and still considering “doctoring” the balls).
All this sheds plenty of doubt on the report and decreases the credibility of the NFL… if it wasn’t for those damn text messages.
Goodell probably knows he’s overreacting and his punishment is preposterous. It’s an intentional overreaction for two reasons. First, he’s screwed up every scandal that crossed his desk, and Deflategate was his way of compensating. Second, he knows Brady will appeal and win, which means the punishment will be fractioned.
Because of these injustices, Brady’s teammates have come to his aid. Rob Gronkowski has been most vocal — though least articulate. Belichick gave a physics dissertation during the week before the Super Bowl — though he’s been quiet since he was cleared for rule-breaking. Robert Kraft has been very vocal in his staunch support of the quarterback and his opposition to the commissioner. Brady Sr. and Brady’s agent Don Yee sung a duet about Brady’s innocence following the Wells Report.
Hell, four bloggers from Barstool went to bat for him, staging a sit-in in the NFL office for which they got arrested. The Boston community has rallied behind Brady — their sentiment is loud and clear. #FreeBrady.
But where the hell is he?
Aside from his interview before the Super Bowl, he has failed addressed questions about doctoring footballs, and has not acknowledged the recent accusations that he’s a cheater. At first, it was “more probable than not.” But Goodell took the “more probable than not” out of the equation. His four-game suspension screams, “Brady is a cheater,” which gives the rest of the sporting world reason to do so, too.
Forget about the media — he doesn’t have to answer questions. He owes the community, which has rallied around him, an explanation.
Perhaps, he’d like to leave it all to the appeal process. And perhaps, he’ll experience a great deal of success during that process. But for a man so comfortable in the public eye, whose exploits have been on centerstage, why vacate the stage at one of the most important moments of his career?
Every day he avoids the important questions is a day where he loses credibility. That isn’t to say it can be regained. But why let his integrity wane? When you’re the face of a franchise, you’re paid to answer the tough questions — even if it means admitting you were wrong.
As someone that wants to believe that this is Framegate and who thinks the NFL is teetering into a state of dangerous do-whatever-the-fuck-they-want autonomy, I’m hoping Brady will come out and explain that it’s all a big misunderstanding. But I’d respect him just the same, if he admitted that he did doctor balls, then he went out and won another Super Bowl next year to prove that deflated footballs don’t deserve to be a footnote on his supposedly-besmirched resume.
An admission won’t come. And the Patriots are not going quietly into the night. They’re going to retaliate for what they think has been an unfair due-process. The lawyers are going to do the heavy lifting for Brady in court, and so he’ll have every excuse to continue to say next-to-nothing. But if they want that retaliation to be meaningful, their front-man needs to start standing up for himself.
The only other man who had previously been silent, Ted Wells, has answered questions. He let it slip that no one took football deflation seriously in the first place, which points to the absurd degree that the scandal has exploded out of everyone’s control.
With the appeal process about to take its course, the jury is still out. Boston is chanting his name, hoping that he’ll come out and take a stand. If they’re rallying, he should, too. So, I must ask again: where the hell is Brady?
The silence is awfully incriminating.
Photo via Getty