Mike Reiss weighs in on DeFlategate

Mike Reiss, ESPN:
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter tweeted something Saturday morning that resonated with me; it was advice on journalism and social media from Margaret Sullivan, public editor of the New York Times. Three points I highlighted were: Think more about fairness than objectivity; think about how close you can get to the truth; put yourself in the place of the people who will be affected by your work (that doesn't mean to pull your punches). I think those can apply in more areas than journalism, and in fact, they are three reasons that highlight why I think commissioner Roger Goodell has erred badly from the start with the league's handling of the Patriots and underinflated footballs, making this into a much bigger deal than it is. Over the last three days, I've digested the 243-page Wells report reading it multiple times, and with its bias and lack of fairness in certain areas, I truly can't believe what the commissioner has done to the legacy and reputation of one of the greatest quarterbacks and ambassadors in the history of the game -- all over air pressure in a football and without definitive proof he had anything to do with it.

The starting point for football tampering was the San Diego Chargers who were using an illegal sticky substance on towels in 2012 and getting fined $25,000. Next culprits were the Minnesota Vikings and Carolina Panthers who on November 30, 2014 were illegally heating footballs on the sideline during a game, and simply got a warning from the NFL.

Every time that Lester Hayes of the Oakland Raiders touched any football in the 1970's, it was tugged out of play. It was a two-man job to pull the football from his hands.

Ted Wells' 243-page report on the "Deflategate" scandal concludes "it's more probable than not" that Patriots personnel "participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots game balls after the balls were examined by the referee."

The first is a light fine. The second one is a warning. The third involves millions in damages, reputations, text messages from the "deflator and one minute forty seconds in a bathroom which brings us to a suspension for the QB who "may or may not know" anything about air pressure in a football.

I believe, for the 2015 NFL season, a Wells Fargo truck will be parked on each team's sidelines guarding the game balls. The names of the NFL employees will be announced prior to the start of the game, just as the game officials are. On January 1, 1885, Wells, Fargo & Company's was established. Since that time, there have been 313 stagecoach robberies, 23 burglaries, and four train robberies.

It is not often that a New Yorker backs somebody from New England. Jeff Van Gundy will probably have to sit out a few games, too.

Paul Murphy is a freelance writer from New Hampshire. .

Follow me on Twitter at @_prmurphy

For more of my articles, click here.