So the heavy lifting in #Deflategate is over and cheater Tom Brady won the first round but he isn’t the real winner here. The real winner here are those who play “the game.”
No, I’m not talking about football. This case isn’t about football its about a lot of other things. The Brady case means different things to different people but it means one big thing to much of the media covering it. Labor relations.
This isn’t an analysis of the legal opinion handed down by Judge Berman though at some point that will be forthcoming. No, this is a discussion about this little game called life. Let me tell you how that works.
If you have an agenda and you want to push it you better know how the game is played. First, you create a boogeyman that people can hate. Then you make that boogeyman hated and/or feared by the masses. You rarely disclose your agenda or biases when you are playing the game even when you are accusing others of doing the same.
You see, all across the country there is an ongoing labor fight and your media is right smack dab in the middle of it. Places like Gawker, Salon, and Vice are attempting to unionize just to name a few. Big media like the Associated Press are pushing back against reporters and media. Journalism is losing jobs all across the country and print media is in serious danger.
Welcome to the jungle indeed.
Here, Roger Goodell is that boogeyman except that he really isn’t. I had the opportunity to be around Roger Goodell at the 2015 NFL Draft. He is an affable likable person in real life. I know that doesn’t fit the narrative but its true. Goodell is the perfect fall guy because he does what the people around him tell him to do. This includes team owners who love him. This is an important fact.
Goodell suspends your favorite player and caters to optics so its relatively easy to make him the boogeyman. Deflategate was a disaster as much because legal counsel Jeff Pash made it so. Goodell listens to those around him and does what he is advised to do. It makes him the perfect fall guy and boogeyman and protects the ones who really call the shots.
This ruling will be couched as a win for players and for labor and maybe it will be but I doubt it. The owners are already talking about redoing the conduct policy and discipline policy and the odds loom large it will happen. This will likely not be good for players because it will become more complex and more litigious and hence more expensive for players.
Brady of course can afford it and so perhaps can your favorite player. The average NFL player? Not so much. It will be more expensive and cumbersome for that player who won’t get the same “benefit of the doubt” as a lily white quarterback like Brady. There won’t be think pieces talking about what an injustice it is when TJ Ward is suspended though this hot take is worth your time.
What will this “new and improved” discipline look like? Much like what you saw in Deflategate. Sure Goodell might be out of the equation but investigation and discovery will be conducted by Ted Wells and his firm or someone like him (or some other expert qualified to judge the issues at hand) and yes that person will get paid and paid well because that’s how the real world works. People will whine and complain all the same.
As always, its the players who will pay for this new and improved discipline with legal fees, fines and suspensions. The league will continue to make money. Goodell, or someone else, will continue to be the perceived boogeyman doing the will of those really in charge.
The game will go on because that’s how the world works.