You can count Cleveland's Joe Thomas among those defending Tom Brady and trashing NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Thomas, who's been a Pro Bowler at the tackle position all seven seasons he's been in the league and has been a five-time First-Team All-Pro, truly spoke his mind said Sunday in an interview with ESPN when he *heavily* criticized Goodell for his handling of Deflategate and how the NFL handles player discipline overall. Thomas not only believes that Brady doesn't deserve a suspension, he didn't even think he deserved to be fined.
"I would equate what [Tom Brady] did to driving 66 [mph] in a 65 speed zone, and getting the death penalty," said Thomas. "Who cares if they throw a football that has no air pressure? What does it matter? Why don't we let the quarterbacks do whatever they want to the football? I don't understand why there's any rules."
"We know [quarterbacks] already doctor [footballs] 99 percent, why do we care about the 1 percent in the air pressure?" Thomas continued. "Why does that matter? Nobody's even explained why that even matters."
On the matter of Goodell, Thomas actually gives the Commish credit for creating a league that's relevant 365 days of the year...by having "outrageous, ridiculous witch hunts."
I'm not sure if he realizes what he's doing is brilliant, but what he's doing is brilliant because he's made the NFL relevant 365 [days] by having these outrageous, ridiculous witch hunts. It's made the game more popular than ever and it's become so much more of an entertainment business and it's making so much money. That's why I'm sure there's plenty of people saying this is embarrassing for the league. But it's an entertainment business when it comes right down to it. When the game gets eyeballs in newspapers and on TV, that's what in the end is the goal for everyone. And that's what this controversy is giving them.
Thomas added that "If [Goodell] even thinks somebody is sort of guilty of some level of crime, they just try to destroy him."
And how about this one for a parting shot? On the matter of how the balls were handled and the process was carried out, Thomas believes the NFL set up a sting on the Patriots leading up to the AFC Title Game against the Colts.
"Until there's information that says otherwise, to me it looked like a sting operation." We're with you on that one, Joe.
Thomas finished up the interview by congratulating Brady for fighting his suspension in federal court and likened the NFL to WWE and Roger Goodell to Vince McMahon.
"I'm glad that he's fighting [it]," said Thomas. "Because it's good for the game. It's an entertainment business. It's turning into the WWE really. It's like the Vince McMahon stuff. Basically Goodell is like Vince McMahon."
So, Joe Thomas, all of us at Patriots Life would like to officially extend an invitation to make you an honorary member of Pats Nation. Hit us up on Twitter to accept our summons.