The NFL’s damning silence on a new case of underinflated footballs
From the end of the column:Just listen to those crickets. A conspicuous hush is emanating from the NFL office on the subject of those soft footballs the New York Giants retrieved from the field against the Pittsburgh Steelers last week. Where was the outrage, the treating of ball-inflation and pounds-per-square-inch as more serious than a hijacking? Compare the screams of scandal NFL executives emitted toward Tom Brady and the New England Patriots to this smothered, pillow-over-the-face reaction.
It’s a guilty silence, and it leaves NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell beached and exposed. Goodell has always struggled with the demands of speech, but his wordlessness in this instance has nothing to do with competence but rather dishonesty. Any serious examination of those footballs from the Giants-Steelers game might well show that Goodell owes the Patriots and Brady an apology and material recompense. Which is exactly why the league is shutting the matter down and shutting it down now.
But the NFL doesn’t want to get into that. If it admits it received info from the Giants about low PSI, then it has to admit that maybe weather affected the inflation of footballs in other games, too. It has to admit that league officials lacked command of seventh-grade science and that Goodell raced to judgment. It has to admit that a few whiffs of PSI aren’t a game-altering factor, much less worth serious penalties. It has to admit that Goodell is not willing to pursue Art Rooney and Ben Roethlisberger over the air in a couple of footballs with the same energy.
It has to admit that Deflategate was not a fair process but just a ginned-up excuse to punish the Patriots in order to satisfy owner envy and internal politics. It has to admit that it has been covering up PSI data in order to save the last rags of Goodell’s shredded reputation. It has to admit that the NFL under this commissioner has zero credibility left.