NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says he still respects Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, despite the four-game suspension Goodell handed down for Deflategate.
“Listen, he’s a great player and he’s a great young man,” Goodell told the Canton Repository. “We issued the decision just last week. We’re in the midst of litigation to . . . ensure that that’s enforced the way we ruled on that, after a long process that is established in our collective bargaining agreement. That’s something we’ll play through.”
So why has Goodell been trying so hard to keep this “great young man,” who is also one of the league’s best and most popular players, off the field for the first four games of the season? To Goodell, the answer is simple: Brady cheated the game.
“The integrity of the game is the most important thing,” Goodell said. “The integrity of the game is something we will always protect. The rules apply to everybody. That is my job in particular, to make sure everyone from our players to our coach, to our fans and our partners, that they all recognize we’re going to play by these sets of rules, and that’s part of our values and standards.”
Goodell sounds like he’s trying to walk a tightrope in suspending Brady without tarnishing one of the league’s brightest stars. That doesn’t appear likely. Goodell isn’t making anyone happy with his handling of Deflategate.