Brady got what he deserved- but the NFL is still wrong
The NFL is a corporation obsessed with its self image. Players for the organization, the most visible members of its vast labor force, are expected to behave off the field in ways that reflect well on their employer on the field. Being a professional football player means your personal and professional lives are intertwined for the duration of your career.
Even so, suspensions the NFL hands down for off the field offenses are notoriously lax, especially when the victims are women. Ray Rice was initially suspended only two games for a vicious beating he inflicted on his fiancee. Ben Roethlisberger, the loathsome quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, is a notorious serial rapist whose eventual suspension for “violations of personal conduct policies” amounted to four games.
In this context, the suspension of Tom Brady for four games for tampering with equipment seems a bit much. Not that Brady didn’t cheat. Of course he did. And he got caught and deserves to be suspended.
But let’s look at the message the NFL is sending here. Apparently, tampering with the air pressure in game balls is worse than beating a woman and equal in offense to sexual assault. There’s something wrong here if Tom Brady, who- again!- is definitely a cheater on the field, deserves a suspension for his actions on par with the actions of those who beat and rape women off the field.
Tom Brady’s suspension is not an overlong one. It only seems so in context. So that begs the question:
Why does the NFL, when faced with evidence of the horrific ways its players behave towards women, choose to suspend those players who violate its codes of conduct off the field for such short periods of time? Let’s hope the NFL figures out a good answer to that soon, because right now it sure looks like the organization just doesn’t give a shit about women.
It’s not that Brady’s suspension is too long. It’s that the NFL doesn’t suspend its players for their actions off the field for long enough.