NFL Skews Priorities For Punishments

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've heard about the recent decision made by the NFL to punish the New England Patriots for what is referred to as "Deflategate" in the 2015 AFC Championship. 

Why the NFL waited almost four months to discipline the Patriots is beyond common sense, but so is the thought process of Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner. 

Regardless of if you believe the Patriots cheated or not, the punishment on the Patriots is a fair punishment, but leads to questioning for other teams and players offenses. 

The first example is the last time New England was accused of cheating; "Spygate" back in 2007. The coaching staff was caught recording the New York Jets' defensive signals, but only punished $750,000 ($500,000 for head coach Bill Belichick and $250,000 to the organization) and losing a first round draft pick in the 2008 draft. 

The money sounds like a lot, but mind you, Belichick is the second highest paid coach in American professional sports, currently being paid $7,500,000 per year by the Patriots, and has been since 2000. 

A fine is a great place to start penalizing people, especially with how businesslike the NFL has become, but only taking away a single first round pick? Come on Roger, you're letting them walk away with a slap on the wrist. 

It would be easier to see Goodell's thought process if he was consistent, but he's far from it. 

The New Orleans Saints "bounty scandal" (where the Saints are believed to have targeted players to injure and pay the Saints players that injured other teams) from 2009 to 2012 met a similar fine ($500,000 to the organization) and the loss of the Saints' second round picks in both the 2012 and 2013 NFL drafts. 

The difference lies in the punishment enforced on Saints head coach Sean Payton in which he was suspended for the entire 2012 season and lost his paycheck for the year. 

Even if Goodell was thinking "Fool me once, shame on you," the two cheating scandals are completely unrelated and are only comparable in the sense that they both happened in the NFL. 

Another instance that is less of a cheating comparison is the difference between Patriots' Running Back LeGarrette Blount and Cleveland Browns' Wide Receiver Josh Gordon. 

Blount has been arrested for possession of marijuana and has broken the NFL's substance abuse policy, but only received a one game suspension for the 2015 season opener. Blount also struggled with authority in college and was suspended indefinitely from the University of Oregon's football program, along with having difficulties in training camp with the Tennessee Titans.

Gordon violated the same abuse policy but was suspended for two games in 2013, and then suspended for a year which was eventually reduced to a ten game suspension. 

Gordon should have more confined and difficult punishments for being a repeat offender, but how does Goodell thinks it makes sense to suspend Gordon being on a substance that is legal in all 50 states for two games and only suspend Blount for one game for being arrested with a substance that is legal in four states and Washington D.C.?

If anything, since they both violated the same NFL policy but Blount actually had an illegal substance, Blount should receive the more severe punishment. 

But that's not how Roger Goodell sees it, or anybody else. 

Maybe one day Goodell will host a press conference and admit he made decisions based on how his day was going, because it's the only viability to consider his logic or lack thereof. 

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