How Does Tom Brady's Suspension Compare To Others? His Punishment Is Simultaneously Tame & Severe
On Monday, NFL officials suspended New England Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady for four regular season games for his alleged knowledge in the notoriously chattered-about "Deflategate" scandal. The Patriots will also be fined $1 million. According to the official league-commissioned Ted Wells report, which named Brady in the scandal, Brady had been involved in a "deliberate effort" by a locker room attendant and equipment assistant to reduce the air pressure of game balls prior to the AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts in January. But even the four-game penalty is a mere slap on the wrist compared to the punishments of other NFL players who have been caught trying to cut corners or sullying the name of the sport.
Of course, this isn't the only eye-popping scandal in recent days for the New England team. Way back in 2007 (it seems like just yesterday, doesn't it, Jets fans?), head coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots were collectively fined $750,000 for videotaping rival teams' sideline signals — something strictly prohibited in NFL policy during the days prior to fancy headsets and high-tech coaching communiques. According to a report by The New York Times, no coach had ever been fined that much before.
"This episode represents a calculated and deliberate attempt to avoid longstanding rules designed to encourage fair play and promote honest competition on the playing field," wrote NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a statement at the time.
Both incidents, of course, pale in comparison to the punishments doled out to other teams and coaches in recent days — the year 2014 alone was rife with controversy and questionable penalties galore.
In May 2014, Arizona Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington earned one of the year's top penalties in terms of severity. For his third substance abuse violation, Washington was suspended for one full year without pay, costing him $3 million in base salary and workout bonuses. Washington admitted to violating the policy by using marijuana. The league had previously suspended him for four games in 2013 for substance abuse and although Washington stands to be reinstated any day now, he simultaneously faces even more suspensions for allegations of domestic abuse that same year. If the league decides to suspend him once more for those allegations, SBNation pointed out, he will have only played 20 games in three years.
Washington's charges are hefty when compared to Brady's. But both players' punishments seem tame when compared to the often-ridiculous fines handed out to players for arguably ridiculous reasons.
In November 2014, the NFL fined Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch $100,000 for not talking to the media (yes, you read that correctly). Lynch later appealed the fine, but was denied. During Super Bowl media day interviews in January, a defiant Lynch brusquely told reporters, "I'm just here so I won't get fined." Whether you're a fan or not, that's a lot of dough for a little thing like keeping your mouth shut.
Previously in 2011, Pittsburgh Steelers safety and all-around nice guy Troy Polamalu was fined $10,000 for calling his wife on a cell phone from the sideline to let her know he was OK after a particularly brutal hit. Fortunately, for a guy like Polamalu, whose extensive NFL career came to a close this April, the fine barely made a dent in his bank account.
"Thank God football has provided me the ability to be able to sit back and see what [my future] options are," Polamalu told ESPN last month as he considered retirement after being sidelined by an injury, adding that he looked forward to just spending time with his wife and children.
Sometimes, however, players just aren't given a harsh enough punishment, as Twitter users quickly pointed out on Monday after the Deflategate announcement was made.
"For the record," wrote one Twitter user, "Brady's 'maybe he knew about it' suspension is twice as long as the original Ray Rice suspension."
Rice, a Baltimore Ravens running back, was initially suspended for two games back in 2014 after video footage of the player allegedly beating his then-fiancée Janay Palmer in an Atlantic City hotel elevator surfaced on the website TMZ.com. After Palmer dropped the domestic abuse charges against him, Rice sued the Ravens for back pay owed to him and the team supposedly settled out of court for around $3.5 million. Bustle has reached out to Commissioner Goodell's spokesperson for comment and is awaiting a response.
Placed side by side, few of the penalties for today's NFL players and coaches seem to make a whole lot of sense, given the varying degrees of scandal and their respectively uneven punishments. Perhaps the next issue the commissioner and his fellow officials should tackle is that one.
Images: Getty Images (1)