What’s NFL Love Got to do with it?

Kraft and GoodellWhile we hate to say, “I told you so,” the Deflate-gate drama is pretty much unfolding as we kind of predicted. Before we go any further, we need to stress that the latest wrinkle in the saga is strictly between Robert Kraft and the league.

Tom Brady has not yet emerged on the scene to plead his case, though we will have a quick and easy theory on that as well.

The very latest is that Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, has met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and has decided the pay the fine money and lose his two draft choices. He did so for what he believes is the good of the league.

Mr. Kraft has a net worth of $4.3 billion; I would not worry about his million dollar fine. As for the loss of draft picks, say what you will, but the Patriots always seem to do amazingly well in the free agent market. I am not worried for them.

In an Associated Press piece (May 19, 2015) entitled, “Kraft: Patriots won’t appeal team’s fine, draft penalties,” Kraft has reportedly stated:

“What I’ve learned over the last 21 years is the heart and soul and strength of the NFL,” he said, “is the partnership of 32 teams.”

Ah yes, the partnership! He does not want to bring discord to the NFL and put team against team; he does not want to fight the Deflate-gate fight any longer. Nor does he need to do so. He didn’t fight the penalties for Spy-gate either. Perhaps the lovefest is the logical place where this minor scandal was always intended to go.

I don’t know if the locker room ball-boy/attendants had enough time to deflate footballs in a bathroom. I don’t know who told them to do it. I do know it takes 12 to 16 seconds for a NASCAR crew to change four tires and add fluids, so about two minutes should be enough to “probably” deflate 10 of 12 footballs in a bathroom from approximately 12.5 psi to 11.5 psi. I think your 11 year-old kid could probably do it.

That’s really not the point here. I have no doubt that in other years other footballs were doctored by other teams. Ethically, the expression “everyone is doing it,” is not an ethical defense. It was wrong to do. However, other forces are in play here and we fans should understand it.

The key passage in the AP article had absolutely nothing to do with deflated footballs:

“Kraft has long been a confidant and adviser to Goodell and was one of the owners who championed Goodell to replace Paul Tagliabue in 2006. Kraft also was one of the leaders in getting key owners and the union together to end the 2011 lockout, and he’s been a major force in negotiations with TV networks.”

Robert Kraft is a billionaire and Roger Goodell is a multi-multi-millionaire. In his acceptance of his “consequences,” Kraft said everything he needed to say. One helps the other; one has always helped the other. Most good businesspeople understand that sometimes it is much more important to stop the posturing and come around to solving the problem than to carry something out to an unsolvable end.

Next up in this saga is Tom Brady. Again, without a crystal ball, and with nothing save for a handful of opinions and years of ethical consultation, it would not shock me to see the QB’s suspension go from four games down to two games, or maybe none. After all, Brady’s boss stopped the circus.

In this manner, everyone will be happy (save for the ball-boys) and everyone who should save face, will save face. All of the fans – that’s us, will be left with our opinions and anger or joy and passion; not to mention our official $100 jerseys and sweatshirts.

It has been a fun scandal hasn’t it? Look how much longer it extended the football season. However, I must return to the same ethical questions I have been posing all along:

What is the NFL doing about head trauma and what do they really know? Why are those on the periphery (such as cheerleaders) so miserably paid? Why has the league been so slow in policing DUI’s, drugs, domestic violence and sexual assaults? Indeed, why is the league involved in its own law enforcement efforts at all? Aren’t the laws of society enough?

What’s Love Got to do with it? Ask the 32 owners. They love the job that the league has done for them, and the league loves them right back.






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