NFL Upholds Brady’s Suspension, Reduces Bell’s
In a rare double-whammy decision affecting two of the NFL’s most successful franchises, the league has announced it will be upholding Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for his role in the “Deflategate” scandal, but will be reducing Le’Veon Bell’s three-game suspension to two in response to his DUI offence last season.
The unsurprising announcement already has the New England Patriots and Brady’s legal team crying foul, with many expecting the four-time Super Bowl champion to align with the NFL Player’s Association in bringing the matter to court. Depending on the length of the proceedings, there is speculation that the suspension – even if Brady loses – could be pushed back to sometime in the 2016 season.
The issue for the league is not the comparatively minor offence of deflating a football, but the sheer lack of cooperation and transparency from Brady. The whole affair has played out more like an aversion of guilt as opposed to a stake of innocence. At any rate, the matter’s involvement in the courts means weary fans are yet to hear the end of this farce.
Unlike Brady, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell is both a first-time offender and appears to have shown genuine remorse for his actions. And also unlike Brady, there were many who expected the suspension to get reduced, believing the crime was always going to result in two games on the sidelines, that the NFL bumped up the suspension to allow room for the inevitable appeal.
Provided both suspensions are effected in week 1, Brady will not return until a salivating week 6 encounter in Indianapolis against the Colts. Bell, meanwhile, will miss the season opener against the Patriots in Boston, and the home opener against the San Francisco 49ers.