Tags: MidPoint | Mike Petraglia | Evan Weiner | Deflategate | Patriots | Tom Brady | NFL

Sportswriters: NFL Exacts Revenge on Patriots With 'Deflategate'

By    |   Tuesday, 12 May 2015 09:17 PM

By suspending Tom Brady and branding him a cheat, the NFL used a fresh controversy — Deflategate — to settle old scores with Brady's team, the New England Patriots, two sportswriters told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV  Tuesday.

"This is payback," said sportswriter and broadcaster Mike Petraglia of WEEI 93.7 FM in Boston.

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Petraglia and sports journalist Evan Weiner said the league had in mind a list of slights and offenses allegedly committed by the Patriots over the years — ranging from arrogance to duplicity — when it doled put punishments on Monday to the organization and its celebrated quarterback.

"The NFL is a very vindictive league," said Weiner.

The league benched the reigning Super Bowl MVP
for the first four games of the upcoming season as punishment for using improperly deflated, grip-improving footballs in a playoff game in January. The league also fined the Patriots $1 million and stripped the team of two draft picks.

The Patriots organization denounced the punishments as too harsh. Petraglia essentially agreed, calling the offense in question "an equipment violation" that did not rise to the level of a full-blown league inquiry.

He said the suspension, and the permanent mark on Brady's record, are also based on substandard detective work that never definitively proved Brady's direct, active, knowing involvement in the ball-doctoring.

"Tom Brady's legacy has taken a remarkably large hit and he will always be stained a cheater because the investigation was very faulty and poorly written," said Petraglia.

NFL investigator Ted Wells wrote in his 243-page report that it was "more probable than not" Brady knew.

That's not proof enough to justify the punishment and damage to reputation, said Petraglia.

"If you're going to take down Brady, which essentially the Wells report does, then you have to be a lot stronger and a lot more definitive in drawing lines from point A to point B," he said.

"Ted Wells did not do that," said Petraglia. "He accumulated a ton of evidence, but he did not do a good enough job, in my humble opinion, of showing that Brady not only cheated, but was active in the process of trying to deflate the footballs and, I might add, deflate them below the [allowable] 12.5 psi threshold."

But he said the league has had it in for Brady's team ever since they were ensnared in another "-gate": the 2007 "Sypgate" scandal in which the Patriots were caught secretly videotaping the practices of the rival New York Jets.

Petraglia called Monday's discipline "payback for 2007, payback for not coming clean, payback for not providing the tapes back in 2007 that the Patriots said never existed and somehow went missing.

"They decided to pick on an equipment violation to really go nuclear on the Patriots," he said. "That's what this boils down to."

Weiner, author of "The Business and Politics of Sports," said friction between the Patriots and the league's front office goes way back, owing to what he called "the Patriots' way" — a track record of the organization doing business high-handedly and defending rogue players such as Aaron Hernandez.

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By suspending Tom Brady and branding him a cheat, the NFL used a fresh controversy - Deflategate - to settle old scores with Brady's team, the New England Patriots, two sportswriters told MidPoint host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Tuesday. This is payback, said...
Mike Petraglia, Evan Weiner, Deflategate, Patriots, Tom Brady, NFL, revenge
Tuesday, 12 May 2015 09:17 PM
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