TOM BRADY’S PUNISHMENT IS WARRANTED

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After the NFL announced that they would suspend New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for four games and that he would not receive any pay during this period, his agent Tom Yee quickly countered by saying the report contained “tragic flaws” and accused the NFL of orchestrating a “sting operation.” His father, Tom Brady, Sr. referred to the investigation as “Frame-gate.” Others have called the discipline over-reaching and have questioned the frail standard for concluding fault– “more likely than not.” This standard, long used by all courts in the U.S. to establish “probable cause,” is admittedly a low threshold, and perhaps a heightened standard, such as “clear and convincing evidence” should be the NFL standard. This approach is regularly used in the legal profession, particularly in lawyer/doctor, and other professional disciplinary proceedings. Brady has decided to appeal Commissioner Roger Goodell’s ruling, and will likely seek a neutral decision-maker. During this process, it should be noted that the underlying basis for the suspension concerned on-the-field conduct that actually pertained to the game itself, unlike those accusations against players such as Rice and Peterson whose alleged bad conduct occurred off the field- there is a difference. Thus, any argument that the conduct of these men, punching a fiancé on an elevator, and roughly disciplining your son with a switch, is more serious is misplaced. The most important consideration of the game’s integrity pertains to bad conduct that directly impacts and creates an unfair advantage for one of the competitors. We cannot say that the inflation of the balls, and Brady’s general knowledge of this act, warrant less punishment.

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