Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Brady Needs to Fall On His Sword - For the Good of the Game - And Himself

The game of football cannot be exceeded in importance by one player or one team. That includes prima donna QB Tom Brady, and his New England Patriots.

Sports Illustrated columnist Phil Taylor and I differ in only one respect in the matter of Tom Brady and  deflategate, he believes deflategate is "nonsense" and I don't. I believe fooling around with the rules- no matter what the hell they are- threatens the integrity of the game. And the fact remains, those balls were fiddled with. Taylor can believe it or not.

On the other hand, I agree with Taylor that - that no matter what one thinks - it's time Brady and the Patsies put the whole issue behind them with Brady "falling on his sword". Brady, owner Robert Kraft and the other Pats' bozos have had their histrionics and now it's time to get serious. As Taylor put it (SI, Aug. 10, p. 100):

"There is only one man who can put an end to the madness before it goes any further:Brady. He should call a press conference and announce he is accepting the suspension with no further appeal.  He can make it clear that this is not an admission of guilt, just an effort to end the matter in the best interest of the sport and before it crowds the courts. It would be his movie star moment ....and create a clip of video that would reflect far better on him than the press conference he had when the story broke, when he strained credibility as if he barely knew what a football was...."

Taylor goes on to aver that accepting his 4 game suspension sentence - as opposed to whining about it and pursuing a court case- would redound to his benefit especially as his "golden boy" image has been badly scuffed.  And yeah, while some (including me) would "see it as a tacit admission of guilt" the "weary public would surely give Brady points for ....putting this story out of its misery."

Maybe. But I still believe the story had value, in terms of exposing the skein of cheating woven into the fabric of the country - which not only involves deflated footballs, but tax cheats - using gimmicks to get an edge, as well as student cheats who try to game tests to get an edge up - or attempt to terrorize instructors with poor evaluations.

The deflategate story then put an urgently needed focus directly on ethics-related issues and the notion that "the ends justifies the means.". While some dismiss it all as "entertainment"  or "nonsense" - these are takes of those who probably lack any discerning judgment or ethical radar, period. They are so inured to PR and media junk food, they are no longer able to discern flatulence from significance. Sad. But note this: if we disallow our most cherished sports and games adhering to principles or honor, why should we demand any principle or honor in regular life?

Hell, assassinations of heads of state are fine and dandy so are films depicting them, just don't do any to our guys! CIA torture?  No biggie. Hacking into another nation's computers to gain a spy edge? No biggie again, it's all good!  Gives us an edge so what's wrong with that? Once the small transgressions are permitted, all others can follow with even fewer apologias.

Those who treat deflategate as trivial fail to grasp that it's not the magnitude of the infraction  but the ethical principle that inveighs against doing it - then using specious justifications.

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