You might think Deflategate is over. The 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals has declared that Tom Brady’s four-game suspension should stand, overruling the September ruling by a Manhattan judge that it shouldn’t. Having been fooled once (or twice; I’m losing count) on this case, let’s not be fooled yet again.
Deflategate is not over. Deflategate will never be over. Tom Brady will retire at age 50 and these four games will still be at issue. This thing’s going to the Supreme Court. Then it’s going to the World Court in the Hague. (By then, the NFL will have a franchise in London, making it an international affair.) Then it’s on to … I don’t know; St. Peter at the Pearly Gates?
As long as there’s another court — and there’s always another court — Deflategate will never end It will remain our shared burden: Every so often, we’ll get to revisit the great issue of our time if not all time: Did Tom Brady cheat or what?
There was a time when I worked myself into high dudgeon — not to be confused with a low dungeon — over this matter, but I stand before you now and recuse myself from the case, as it were. I no longer care whether Brady cheated.
Two Super Bowls have since been played, one won by Brady’s team, the other taken by Peyton Manning’s team, which beat Brady’s team. In our 24-hour news cycle of a civilization, this isn’t last year’s news. It’s essentially last century’s.
If Brady did cheat, he got away with it. (See the aforementioned Super Bowl victory.) The NFL’s effort to make him pay for his sins has gone on longer than Inspector Javert’s hounding of Jean Valjean, to say nothing of Dr. Richard Kimble’s pursuit of the One-Armed Man. To borrow a line from G.K. Chesterton: Justice delayed is justice denied.
To say this has gone on long enough is to understate a hundredfold. This has gone on way too long, and it’s sure to be ongoing the day Brady is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Indeed, Roger Goodell will meet him at the door in Canton, Ohio, saying, “Remember that suspension? It starts … NOW!!!!”
In the words of Elsa of Arendelle: Let it go. In the words of Bob Dylan: I used to care — but things have changed. Free Brady. Let us all get back to our lives. Please.