Thursday, May 7, 2015

At Least The NFL Is Investigating Something

Yesterday the NFL released its much anticipated report on "inflategate."  After more than 100 days, and who knows how many millions, a lawyer, and that is a key piece of information, found that it is "more probable than not" that the New England Patriots tampered with the air pressure in the balls before a game.  More probable than not.  Are you kidding me?  What law school did this guy go to?

Lawyers have to do a better job than that. There is no standard of justice that can be placed on "more probable than not," and while Goodell will certainly try and enforce some "justice" on Tom Brady and other employees, I don't know how he can when the information is only circumstantial at best, and thus is only "more probable."

One other key piece of information that was glaringly missing is that they did not evaluate all the footballs that the Colts were using, but of those that they did, 3 out of 4 were also underinflated.  So by the standard the NFL itself has set up, isn't it "more probable than not" that the Colts were also "tampering" with the balls?  Besides for the fact that after this came out plenty of quarterbacks came out and said they did nearly the same thing, and we won't get into the fact that Brady shredded the Colts defense after the balls were back to regulation.

And finally, why is the NFL letting teams control the balls at all?  Does this happen in any other sport?  In basketball, the officials, or representatives there of, control the balls.  In MLB, while the ball boys have them during the game, it's the umps who prep all of the balls before play begins, not the home team.  And none of the sports allow the teams to use different balls/pucks, etc.  They all come out of the same pool.  So why does the NFL allow teams to do anything with the balls?  There is some explaining that still needs to be done.

But, at least the NFL spent some time and money conducting an investigation into something.  It certainly seems like more than what they did in the Ray Rice case, or about Jameis Winston and certainly much more than the Seattle Seahawks did to investigate Frank Clark, who was their second round draft choice.

Clark was kicked off the University of Michigan football team last November following an arrest for domestic violence against his girlfriend.  There had been prior incidents of criminal behavior that also led to the dismissal.  In this case, there were several witnesses who testified that they either saw the victim attacked and hit, or saw her laying unconscious on the ground, and the police took pictures of some of the wounds.

But the Seattle Seahawks, in doing their "due diligence," only talked to Clark himself about this incident.  They did not talk to any of the arresting officers nor to the victim or any of the witnesses.  Now I can understand why they might not talk to the victim, but not to any of the witnesses?  And then for the GM to have the temerity to come out and say he did not believe that Clark had actually ever struck the victim, that takes some nerve.  To me it means either the GM is lying or they didn't actually care because they needed a pass rusher, and so only conducted a cursory look so they could say they did an investigation.  I'm going with more of the second because as I said in an earlier post, plausible deniability is easier and better than due diligence, although I'd also believe the first.

So congratulations NFL.  You did a terrible investigation that found nothing, and proved nothing, against a problem that you yourself caused and should fix, but you did a much better job than any of your teams are doing to investigate violence against women.  At least you have some standards.

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