When Walter Anderson, chief NFL refereee, ignored the alleged ‘disappearance’ of the NFL footballs just before the Patriots-Colts semi-final game, he didn’t know that he was the trigger.
But he was. Anderson just kept going — he knew, and his actions then told us, that all this nonsense about measuring and logging the precise inflation of game footballs was just that — nonsense — because Anderson and his other referees would handle those balls more than any player on the field. Anderson showed us that this whole data-based emphasis upon measurement was entirely unnecessary. He knew, just like any worker who handles piece work items — fish, or frozen baked goods, or chicken parts — that he could quickly tell if something was awry with the ball inflation. The measurement of ball inflation, Anderson’s actions told us, was just a bureaucratic requirement which had nothing to do with the reality of managing an NFL game.
So Anderson ignored it. He didn’t care that somebody might’ve, for the first time in 19 years, according to the Wells report, absconded with the bag of balls. IT DID NOT MATTER.
Let’s leave Walter for a second, and wonder why the NFL has silly procedures. For example, why keep secret from the opponent the whining of the other team about something which that other team believes is a violation of NFL rules? If the Colts, or John Harbaugh of the Ravens, suspects that the Patriots are fudging: why conceal that from the Patriots? Go right over to them, tell them: “hey, the other team thinks you have a habit of deflating the balls — cut it out — or I have to do something!”
That’s all the NFL had to do. Instead, the NFL has erected a ritual which allows those petty complaints to remain undisclosed to the other side! And if the Refs disclosed, immediately, to the other side the whining complaints by their opponent, then it would discourage petty complaints, but also allow immediate correction of any ‘borderline’ ethical practices which might have been ingeniously developed by a team.
But Roger Goodell, who looks increasingly like an oily insurance salesman, has no comprehension of these sorts of nuances.
And because Goodell is so far in the hole, he hires an outside High Establishment lawyer, Ted Wells, to perform an ‘independent’ investigation of the Pats’ alleged propensity for deflation. And Wells gets into a high dudgeon when Tom Brady refuses to produce his personal cell phone records, or excerpts, for Wells. Wells has not read the Massachusetts statute which makes all such records — if they are at all employment related — confidential and part of Brady’s personnel file — and also fails to recognize that the records are personal to Brady and not subject to mandated production to Wells.
The de facto major rule to be gleaned from Wells’ tome, in fact, is that any NFL player must now recognize that his personal cell phone records are, according to the all-powerful NFL, tools to be seized and used by the NFL to investigate the NFL player-employee. This is important, and a radical proposition. Brady resisted this wild notion, and Wells burned him for resisting.
Brady, through these events, got pushed too far. Now the NFLPA has been pushed to retain Jeffrey Kessler to represent Brady on his appeal of the NFL’s 4-month suspension of Brady.
The earthquake now rumbles. The NFL owners have pushed their Brady-icon, who will never back down, and also remembers slights, all the way over into the camp of the downtrodden NCAA player. Kessler, who represents those NCAA players in their antitrust challenge of the NCAA’s ‘scholarship’ cap on player pay, is now meeting with Brady on a daily basis.
Brady will help the NCAA players, in their effort to upset the NCAA’s exploitative arrangement with its those players. This is an explosive match, between Brady and Kessler. Watch out, NFL. Watch out, NCAA. Brady and Kessler are now working together. And I’m putting my money on Brady and Kessler.