Tom Brady Finally Free From Suspension

Natalia Kreciglowa '18Assistant Sports Editor

Tom Brady is often hailed as one of the greatest football players of our time. He is a four-time Super Bowl Champion, a three-time Super Bowl MVP and a two-time National Football League MVP. In 2011, he was ranked the No. 1 football player in the NFL, and this year, he was ranked No. 3.

Brady’s character truly shined during the NFL “deflategate” scandal beginning back in 2014. The controversy started when the NFL made allegations that the New England Patriots tampered with footballs during games. Allegations made by the American Football Conference Championship Game at Gillette Stadium began Jan. 18.

Following a game in which the New England Patriots dominated the Indianapolis Colts 45-7, the NFL suspected the win was caused by the Patriots underinflating the footballs that were used in the game. An underinflated football is easier to grip, therefore, making it easier to throw and catch.

During the game, Tom Brady threw an interception that was caught by Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson. Jackson took the football as a souvenir after the play and stated he didn't feel any difference in the pressure of that ball.

However, the Colts’ equipment manager measured the pressure at the sidelines — technically against NFL rules. He noticed the ball was underinflated and informed NFL officials. During halftime, the referees measured the pressure of the balls and noticed a few were underinflated. The referees inflated the balls to standard, and the NFL opened a case to investigate whether the New England Patriots were underinflating.

The Patriots’ Head Coach Bill Belichick released a statement denying any knowledge of underinflating, and Tom Brady claimed the accusations were “ridiculous.” On May 6, the NFL published a 243-page “Wells Report” concluding the investigation, saying it was “more probable than not" that New England Patriots equipment personnel were deliberately breaking the rules. On May 7, Brady claimed he was still “digesting the report” and again denied the claims.

Despite this, the NFL ordered a four-game, without-pay suspension on Brady because of his alleged involvement.

On July 29, he released the following statement on his Facebook page: “I am very disappointed by the NFL’s decision to uphold the four-game suspension against me…Despite submitting to hours of testimony over the past six months, it is disappointing that the Commissioner upheld my suspension based upon a standard that it was ‘probable’ that I was ‘generally aware’ of misconduct. The fact is that neither I, nor any equipment person, did anything of which we have been accused.”

Many officials thought the punishment was excessive, and Brady continued to fight for an appeal. Finally, on Sept. 3, Judge Richard M. Berman overturned the suspension, allowing him to play in the first four games of the 2015 season.

He may be the best on the field, but is he the best off? That is a decision sports fans should make for themselves.