The off-field hits just keep on coming for America’s most ethically troubled sports league.
The Patriots will begin their Super Bowl title defense without the services of the franchise’s greatest all-time player.
The NFL announced Monday that Tom Brady has been suspended without pay for four games for violating the NFL policy on the integrity of the game. This news comes less than a week after independent investigator Ted Wells found that it was “more probable than not” that Brady was “at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities” regarding the deflation of Patriots game balls used in the AFC Championship Game against the Colts.
The team will also be fined $1 million and will forfeit a 2016 first rounder and 2017 fourth-round selection in the NFL Draft.
Brady has played the wide-eyed innocent throughout all of this, but the reality is that nothing happens to the game balls in the NFL without the starting quarterback’s knowledge and approval.
The 2013 NFL season began under the cloud of Aaron Hernandez’s murder arrest. In 2014, the Ray Rice domestic abuse fiasco was just unraveling at the beginning of the season. Now America’s favorite sports league (still) will begin this year with the franchise quarterback for the defending Super Bowl champs suspended for cheating.
It remains to be seen whether these constant problems will eventually have an effect, or if fans are just really good at compartmentalization.