NFL Punishments Getting Out of Hand

Newest  NFL suspension controversy causes backlash from fans.

The latest controversy involves the two cases of Tom Brady and Greg Hardy- both serving a 4 game suspension during the 2015 season after participating in the NFL’s appeal process.

Brady, quarterback for the New England Patriots, lost his appeal after being accused of having prior knowledge and withholding evidence regarding the deflation of game balls during the 2015 AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts. In the case of Hardy, defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys, Commissioner Rodger Goodell granted an appeal reducing his suspension from 10 games to 4. According to, “The NFL’s investigation concluded that Hardy violated the Personal Conduct Policy by using physical force against Nicole Holder in at least four instances.”

Most importantly- these decisions should be reviewed by Goodell because having Hardy and Brady serve the same suspension times reinforces the notion that wins and making a profit are more important than having morals and being an upstanding person in society. This sends a bad message to the fans. Expressing that the NFL values protecting a few ticks of PSI levels in game balls more than the safety and well being of women in our society.

When looking at deciding factors of this case, many fans now are concerned that decisions may not have been made in the best interest of the players, NFL, or the viewing audience. No consideration was made about the impact this decision would have- reinforcing the standards regarding how to conduct ourselves as human beings in society.

In the case of Brady, all evidence used to make the decision is circumstantial. An article published by states, Goodell is neglecting the fact that the ball boy would have had only 90 seconds to complete the deflation to the precise measurements in a stadium bathroom. It further states, “the NFL found that the Colts also played the AFC title game with footballs that measured under the legal limit. The league simply ignored the fact that 3 out of 4 Colts footballs measured under the hallowed 12.5 PSI (upon which the NFL tells us rests the integrity of the game), as if the rules applied to only one team.”  

With Brady’s punishment, it seems as though Goodell felt it would be more beneficial for the Patriots and Tom Brady to suffer a short-term pain, in order to prove a point about the league’s integrity. Not wanting to repunish Hardy, Goodell chose to reduce the sentencing. This, however, equates Hardy’s behavior to be equivalent to Brady’s alleged actions.

As the commissioner, Goodell has an obligation to make decisions based on the best interest of the organization and all teams involved in the league. He also has an obligation to uphold the universal playing standards, which do not differ from sport to sport. As one of the most powerful sports organizations in the world, the NFL and it’s players serve as influential role models. Many fans feel Goodell did not act in their best interest- allowing the NFL and it’s players to not consider their roles as major influencers shaping our youth.        

Acceptance of enduring short-term pain for long-term gain is exactly what we’re seeing here. The willingness to ignore blatant wrongs and bypass clear actions for the possibility of a long-term gain in the future is unacceptable. Goodell once again put the long-term gain and benefit of the NFL above individual rights in our society. I find this unethical because if the suspensions are the same, Goodell and the NFL are blatantly ignoring the wrongs of Hardy. This demonstrates that Hardy’s worth to the organization is greater than the safety of women in our society.  

These two grievances as many fans have expressed cannot be compared morally or ethically. The consequences of the ball deflation debacle is clearly not as ethically damaging to our society or the NFL audience as a domestic violence situation. When looking at these two cases, one can see that while Tom's alleged actions may have been detrimental to the league, Hardy's actions were far worse and had a far greater negative impact on both society and the NFL. Many fans and I feel that Goodell needs to acknowledge his obligations to individuals, the fans, and the NFL organization.