When the Wells investigative report was released Wednesday, it didn't take long for the general public to form an opinion of the New England Patriots, and more importantly, their star quarterback Tom Brady. Former players like Jeff Saturday and Mark Brunell took to television to discuss the report's findings and to give their thoughts on the matter. Ryan Clark also joined in with his opinion, but he took to Twitter instead.
We all were "generally aware" that the Patriots push the rules. We also knew it was "more probable than not" that they cheat. No news here!— Ryan Clark (@Realrclark25) May 6, 2015
PED users get 4 games for gaining a competitive edge. Brady got a competitive edge from deflating balls. So, he should get no more than 4!— Ryan Clark (@Realrclark25) May 6, 2015
Although Clark may have an internal issue with Brady and the Patriots, as they typically owned the Pittsburgh Steelers during his time in the steel city, what he says is hard to ignore or argue.
The fact remains the Patriots are an organization and franchise which has knowingly pushed the envelope in terms of what is, and isn't, supposed to happen within an NFL team. 'Spy-Gate' was the most popular, and possibly most heinous, act of Bill Belichick and his team, but the new 'Deflate-Gate' situation certainly raises eyebrows.
As for sanctions against the team and/or Brady, this is really anyone's guess, but Clark's pointing at the PED (Performance Enhancing Drugs) policy certainly brings up a valid point. It is difficult to compare something like the deflated football case to an off the field suspension. Drawing a correlation between someone who is cheating to help their performance on the field, like PED use, would certainly correlate with Brady cheating to help his performance on the field by having air taken out of the footballs.
This is where the NFL commissioner and the league front office finds themselves in quite the bind. Your Super Bowl champions from the previous year have been accused of cheating, and of all the people who are the center of this investigation is Tom Brady, a superstar within the league. If the league office simply fines the organization and docks Brady a game check, they will be ridiculed for their lack of consistency and possible favoritism towards Robert Kraft and the Patriots. Come down too hard, and people will suggest how many quarterbacks alter the footballs and the league is taking this investigation too seriously.
Either way, Clark brings up valid points in regards to the current situation Brady and the Patriots find themselves in. We will have to take a wait-and-see approach to how the league handles these actions in the near future.