Is it Unlikely That You Cannot Generally be Conclusive?
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 by Laramie Boyd
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        Like most people, I believe that in any game where rules are broken, violators need to be held accountable forthwith. What it boils down to, in those cases, is whether it has been clearly shown that rules have been broken by the person accused of breaking them. And there should be some set of criteria to answer that question? Should the proof be beyond a shadow of a doubt, or is just circumstantial evidence okay? Would it be fair to require the same justification for punishment as is required in a court of law? Innocent until proven guilty? Is professional football exempt from giving an accused basic rights? Consider the following statements from the NFL investigative team, headed by Ted Wells, into whether Tom Brady, quarterback for the NFL Super Bowl champion Patriots, knowingly and intentionally had game footballs deflated to suit his preference in the feel of the ball, which would be a violation of a league rule.
- Brady was found to have been "at least generally aware of plans by 2 Patriot employees to prepare the football to his liking."
- "While we cannot be certain when the activity began, the evidence suggests..."
- "Although the report did not conclusively link the four-time Super Bowl champion to the illegal activity..."
- "It is unlikely that (the two employees) would deflate game balls without Brady's knowledge."
        And as a result of these statements, the investigators concluded that "the report established substantial and credible evidence that the quarterback knew the employees were deflating the footballs." For some reason I must have to ask if "generally aware," "cannot be certain," "the evidence suggests," "did not conclusively," and "is unlikely," meet the criteria for "credible evidence"?
        Sure, I "suspect", I don't really know, that Mr. Brady knew of the deflating. But is this the way the NFL, or any other organization in this country, determines "guilt?" By gut feelings? Seems to me, based on the published report by the investigative powers, there are grounds for doubt, unless they are hiding pertinent facts uncovered in the investigation. Aren't 4 games, $1 million, and a first round draft pick, the penalties levied by the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, relative to recent rulings, a bit steep? And even if an appeal by Brady results in a reduction of the penalties, which some see as highly likely, the same "credible evidence" applies, and if the "glove doesn't fit," would it be unreasonable to call for a reevaluation of the charges? "Knee-jerk" justice has never worked in the long run, and never will, and Roger Goodell just may be over compensating for past failures to let the punishment fit the crime, if there was one. I believe this to be the case in this instance.