Tom Brady has an ally in fellow future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees. In an interview on the Dan Patrick Show, the New Orleans Saints quarterback took shots at NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about how he’s handled the Deflategate scandal and Brady’s suspension.
“Forget the issues at hand here with Deflategate or whatever you want to call it. I think this was an issue again with the fact that the commissioner’s control and authority was challenged and the league is gonna do whatever they can to make sure they know that he is in position to make these types of unilateral decisions, and there’s nothing anybody can do about it.”
These are not the only public comments that Brees has made on the matter. He also recently said “I think we would all agree that he (Goodell) definitely has too much power” in an interview with Sports Illustrated.
It would be irresponsible not to point out that Brees isn’t an unbiased voice in this arena. Players tend to stick together when it comes to disciplinary issues. Additionally, Brees and the Saints certainly have a lingering ax to grind with Goodell as a result of 2012’s Bountygate suspensions.
With that in mind, it’s still very hard to argue much with Brees’ argument. Deflategate has been the NFL’s main issue since the New England Patriots downed the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game played in January of 2015. That’s a period of more than 15 months.
In roughly the same time frame, Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and Greg Hardy have all won appeals against the NFL for far more egregious allegations (granted, for off field incidents). Goodell hasn’t hotly pursued any of them since.
It sure seems as though Brady is getting continually targeted by the commissioner because he’s a bigger name than Rice, Peterson, or Hardy. From the outside looking in, it appears as though Goodell had a harsh reaction to Brady initially challenging his ruling and winning, thereby making the commissioner look bad in a public setting.
If that is the case, then Brees is right. The NFL will do whatever it takes to be sure that their narrative is followed and that their authority is not challenged.
That’s a real problem, and it’s far bigger than whatever Tom Brady’s Deflategate punishment ends up being.