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The CBS show “60 Minutes Sports” featured Armen Keteyian interviewing a New York Law Professor, Robert Blecker, who had studied the details of the federal court case on “DeflateGate”. The professor concluded that the NFL’s investigation into Tom Brady was so poorly conducted that it amounted to a witch hunt. He also gave his opinion, which was that Tom Brady very likely did not deflate the footballs.
I was incredulous and wrote him a letter. He replied
September 10, 2015
Robert Blecker, New York Law School
I saw your 60 Minutes Sports bit on deflate-gate. Your conclusion that Tom Brady did not deflate the balls is misguided in my opinion, as I will explain.
You are guilty of a classic case of missing the forest for the trees. You got very enthused about uncovering the horrible investigative techniques used by the NFL, but you are comparing it to a court of law standard. There was no attempt to make this a criminal court case of discovery. It was an employer-employee disciplinary matter (bungled badly by the NFL).
The overwhelming evidence is indeed that Brady is as guilty as sin (and that the NFL is crooked too) because:
A) Brady has been seen and heard on video interviews talking about his preference for low deflation in footballs
B) The Patriots ball boys disappeared in the bathroom with the footballs on the way to the field
C) Why would the NFL want to harm the best brand name in the game, Tom Brady, for no reason?
D) The entire team of the Patriots under their coach are well known to push the envelope or cheat
E) Refs on the field thought that the footballs were too soft
F) Numerous other NFL teams have suspected Brady of this before
Your main evidence against the deflation relies upon bad science. The “award winning” statisticians and physicists are spewing bad science. I am an expert on analyzing scientific data. Their conclusions could just as easily have been that Brady was guilty (if Brady were not paying them to be his witness).
There is a very good reason that sporting outcomes are not appealed in courts by lawyers. The spirit of the competition would be lost to legal details and loopholes. Sports are antithetical to real law, I would argue.
Steven E. Greer, MD
Professor Blecker replied.
September 14, 2014
Thanks for your comments. Alas, your claims call for counters.
“A) Brady has been seen and heard on video interviews talking about his preference for low deflation in footballs”
Desiring legal low levels — he instructed McNally to remind ref. he wanted at 12.5 says NOTHING about cheating below the legal limit.
“B) The Patriots ball boys disappeared in the bathroom with the footballs on the way to the field”
Bathroom right next to the field — he only spent 100 seconds — might have had a sudden urge to urinate — no need to rush — game delayed by 10 minutes
“C) Why would the NFL want to harm the best brand name in the game, Tom Brady, for no reason?”
Long answer — but for the moment just say domination of the eastern division year after year with aging star bad for business — plus Commissioner Goodell needed to prove independence from Kraft — Brady caught in the cross fire.
“D) The entire team of the Patriots under their coach are well known to push the envelope or cheat”
Difference between gamesmanship and cheating — this whole thing may have been a makeup call for the past
“E) Refs on the field thought that the footballs were too soft”
No such thing — not until intercepted and defensive player complained — refs handled the balls repeatedly in the first half and noticed nothing — cuts against you
“F) Numerous other NFL teams have suspected Brady of this before”
Doesn’t make it true.
Won’t go into my version of the relationship of law and sport. I guess we’ll agree to disagree.
What do you think? You are the jury. Was Brady guilty or innocent?