Tom Brady appeared untouchable following reports about his ability to let the air out of his own balls before Super Bowl 49. Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, was particularly glib and almost supportive of the NFL during its investigation of “Deflate-Gate” because his buddy Roger Goodell was having such a hard day/month/life.
And then Brady was suspended for four games, his team fined $1 million and two draft picks. Now we can witness how friendships change when money and draft picks are involved:
Brady’s agent, Donald Yee, in a statement released after the announcement, called the punishment “ridiculous” and said it had “no legitimate basis.”
He added, “There is no evidence that Tom directed footballs be set at pressures below the allowable limits. In fact, the evidence shows Tom clearly emphasized that footballs be set at pressures within the rules.”
And what say you, Mr. Kraft?
In a striking reversal of tone, owner Robert Kraft on Wednesday ripped what he called the NFL’s “unfathomable” decision to uphold a four-game suspension of star quarterback Tom Brady, ending a two-month cease-fire that began with Kraft’s acceptance of separate sanctions on the club.
USA Today also cites his grumblings here:
“I have come to the conclusion that this was never about doing what was fair and just,” Kraft said of the investigation and penalties. “Back in May, I had to make a difficult decision that I now regret.”
Mind you, the NFL noted that Brady’s suspension was for “conduct detrimental to the integrity of the NFL” and for “failure to cooperate in the subsequent investigation.” Kraft supported Roger Goodell because
he knew his friend would give him the typical slap on the hand that justice would prevail.
And so it did, depending on who you ask. It just didn’t happen in the typical way with the league siding with players over their domestic violence victims. That explains the 180 we are witnessing right now. Even PR professionals and professors are chiming in via the Boston Globe:
“He’s basically saying to the NFL, ‘I’m not going to play by your rules. I don’t respect your decision,’” said Rook Campbell, an adjunct professor of political science, communication, and diplomacy at the University of Southern California who is working on a book about sports governance. “That’s the interesting thing that has happened here.”
We would like to remind everyone that the “flip off your boss” approach is generally limited to untrained, spoiled brats. Please don’t try this media relations strategy at home.