By Charles Glover, Jr.
What do the New England Patriots, Alex Rodriquez, and Lance Armstrong have in common? Cheating, lying and championships. Rodriguez and Armstrong are now pariahs and their accomplishments have been completely tarnished. The Patriots are on their way to similar treatment from fans, competitors and some media outlets.
News spread quickly that 11 of the 12 footballs the Patriots used in the AFC Championship game were inflated 2 pounds per square inch below NFL standards. This newly dubbed “Deflategate” has moved beyond whether the Patriots did something wrong and is now in the penalty phase.
According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, “Under NFL rules, no alteration of the footballs is allowed once they are approved. If a person is found breaking league rules and tampering with the footballs, that person could face up to a $25,000 fine and potentially more discipline.”
NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice had a very common take on Twitter on the situation stating, “11 of 12 balls under-inflated can anyone spell cheating!!! #Just Saying.” People are not willing to dismiss this latest transgression from the Patriots, despite the large margin of victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Hall of Fame finalist and current ESPN analyst Jerome Bettis referred to the Patriots as “known felons,” referring to their previous punishment for being caught improperly taping their opponents, aka “Spygate.”
Roger Goodell levied serious penalties to the New Orleans Saints during “Bountygate,” when Saints players were found to have received financial incentives for intentionally harming opponents. Part of the reason for their stiff penalties was the fact that the team had been warned by the league before ultimately getting caught.
So what should happen to the Patriots? Head coach Bill Belichick should be fired, the team should forfeit multiple draft picks, and they should replay the AFC championship game. Those actions would restore integrity to the NFL, of course, it will not happen. Whatever the punishment we know they’re still going to have a chance to win the Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks on February, 1.
Former NFL tight end Byron Chamberlain pondered via Twitter: “45-7, did deflated football really make that much of a different? #DeflateGate” Grammar aside, the answer is yes for everyone else in sports who is caught cheating. Did Rodriguez or Armstrong need to cheat to be successful in their sport? Shouldn’t the accomplishments over long careers for players like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds easily grant them entrance into the MLB Hall of Fame? After all, performance-enhancing drugs cannot account for all of their success.
The bottom line for the Patriots is coach Belichick leads the team and should receive the majority of the credit, and blame as well. The NFL could make sure the Patriots no longer break rules like this by coming down hard on them. Such punishment might not happen. In the meantime, as Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman adequately put it, “They’re still going to be playing in this [Super Bowl] so whatever they did, the risk/reward was greater.”–OnPointPress.net–
Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a training/benefits consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com. For business inquiries contact (646)309-1938.