OPINION: It’s Time to Move On

//DAVID ROBINSON//

Last weekend, New England Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, shined against the Cincinnati Bengals with three touchdowns, a 82.9 percent pass completion rate, 376 total yards and for those who started him on fantasy football, he brought in 27 points to fantasy teams. While Brady’s four game suspension did hurt the team and Brady himself, it seems as though the rest has proven to be quite beneficial because it has provided Brady with plenty of time to master his team’s offensive strategies.

I was at a restaurant during the Patriots-Bengals game and I overheard a table of customers who were furious that the Patriots were winning and started bringing up the subject of Brady’s involvement in the Deflategate scandal. “I can’t stand that guy,” One of the customers said. “They should’ve kicked him out for good.” Upon hearing this, I too became frustrated; not because the Patriots were winning, but because it has been a year since Deflategate and people are still going on about it.

The fact of the matter is this; this is not the first time the Patriots have been caught cheating; in 1982, during a snowy game between the Patriots and the Miami Dolphins, Schaefer Stadium’s snowplow operator, Mark Henderson, cleared a spot on the snow-covered field so that Patriots kicker, John Smith, could kick the game-winning field goal. “I think it’s the most unfair thing I’ve ever been associated with in coaching,” Former Dolphins head coach, Don Shula said to the LA Times. “It’s the most unsportsmanlike act that I’ve ever been around.”

Twenty-five years later, the Patriots were caught videotaping the New York Jets’ defensive coaches’ signals; unlike 1982, the Patriots actually received a punishment in the form of a $500,000 fine on head coach, Bill Belichick, a $250,000 fine on the team itself and a loss of their first-round pick in the 2008 NFL (National Football League) Draft.

And everyone is aware of their most recent scandal, Deflategate, in which the Patriots were accused of deflating footballs used in the 2015 AFC Championship so that Tom Brady could grip them easier; the NFL suspended Tom Brady for four games due to his supposed involvement in Deflategate, fined the Patriots $1 million and took away their first round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft and fourth round pick in the 2017 Draft.

Regardless of whether Brady was guilty or innocent of these claims, there is one thing that has to be agreed upon; it is time to move on. It is over. The Patriots won Super Bowl XLIX, the team accepted the NFL’s penalties and Brady served his four game suspension. There is no point in bringing up the Deflategate scandal whenever the Patriots win a game or Brady does well.

I am not a huge fan of the New England Patriots; I recognize they are an excellent team with some talented players, but their character code can sometimes falter. I do not condemn the Patriots for this, however, because I recognize that they are not the only sports team and Tom Brady is not the only athlete to be caught cheating. I find it to be ridiculous that football fans keep hating on Brady for supposedly deflating footballs and then say virtually nothing about Ben Roethlisberger’s multiple sexual assault allegations.

In my humble opinion, it is far better for an NFL athlete to deflate footballs than knock out his fiancee in an elevator, dope up on PEDs (performance enhancing drugs) or murder a semi-professional football player. I forgive Tom Brady for Deflategate and the New England Patriots for their other scandals. In the long run, the enjoyment of the game is all that really matters.

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