The New England Patriots will be without their quarterback for the first four games of the NFL season. Tom Brady will instead be suspended for that time span, for "violating the integrity of the game". The punishment was handed down by commissioner Roger Goodell, who has been embattled and criticized for the lack of consistency in his punishments. They come as a result of an extensive, and oddly delayed, report involving "DeflateGate". The Patriots will also forfeit their 2016 1st round draft choice and a 2017 4th rounder, as well as a healthy $1 million fine.
Tom Brady plans to appeal the suspension, and he actually has some ground to stand on thanks to the report's vague language. If he loses the appeal, his suspension will cost him $2 million in salary lost through the suspension. Whether you agree with the punishment or not, the result has the smell of a heavy fist forced by poorly regarded punishments for player transgressions last season and beyond. It is hard to say, for instance, that the Patriot's ball deflation for one game was more of an infraction that the Atlanta Falcons pumping artificial noise into their stadium for the past two years. And yet the punishments handed down are very different.
The Patriots' Super Bowl victory is marred by this, no doubt. Whether their actions directly impacted the result of the Colts game, we will never know. But one of the NFL's biggest brands took a direct hit today. New England, and Tom Brady deserved to be punished for their unsportsmanlike actions, and they will pay a hefty price for it too.