I will start this post by saying: I am not a Pat’s fan or a sports fan in any way.
However, at this point, the “Deflategate” drama is everywhere I turn: Facebook, the radio, the TV, etc. Some people feel that Brady and the Patriots got what was coming to them, others feel that it’s unfair.
My concern is more what the NFL is teaching the world about what they value. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to get into whether the Patriots cheated or didn’t – honestly, I don’t know. Should cheating be punished? Absolutely.
But does the punishment fit the “crime”?
When it comes to teaching my children values and looking at what the world is teaching them, I worry. Because whether they mean to or not, children and teenagers look at these NFL professionals as role models and will emulate their behavior. While I want my children to learn that no one is exempt from the rules, and that there are consequences, I would hope they realize that violent crimes should have a heavier punishment than cheating.
For example: If you kill someone, you got to jail for life and maybe at risk for capital punishment depending on your state. If you cheat or steal, you may end up in jail but it’s typically not for life.
Tom Brady has been suspended for 4 games, the Patriots fined 1 million dollars, and missing out on top draft picks for circumstantial evidence related to deflating footballs, potentially cheating.
Ray Rice was publically outted for domestic abuse after a video surfaced, something the NFL knew about and only punished him for once it went viral, giving him an indefinite suspension which was appealed and overturned 2 months later.
Mike Priefer faced allegations of homophobic remarks and was suspended for 3 games.
Andy Moeller was caught driving under the influence (which lets be frank, could lead to manslaughter) only received a 2 game suspension.
Upon review of other NFL suspensions, Domestic Abuse typically nets you a suspension of 1 to 2 games (Tony McDaniel, Jeremy Bridges, Ricky Manning ), DUI’s net you 2 game suspension (Jared Allen), and so on. While some of these are older, and obviously the NFL is becoming more strict in their bannings, some of these are as recent as 2014.
So my question is: What is the NFL telling the world? That the use of drugs and cheating is seen as a worse “crime” and deserves a harsher penalty then driving under the influence which can lead to the death of innocent lives and violent crimes such as burglary, child endagerment, assault, and domestic violence? This is something that I think the NFL needs to rethink when it comes to their penalty structure.