May 13, 2015

Wondering, on Wednesday (v30)

Well, let's see, what do we have tonight?

The New England Patriots were fined $1,000,000 for 'deflategate' and lost a couple of draft picks. Tom Brady was suspended for four 'real games' (meaning, he can play in the pre-season but will sit out the first four games after that), unless he wins on appeal. 

I'm wondering, this Wednesday, what the heck the NFL was thinking? I mean, suspending a QB for four games that matter?  Sheesh.  Don't they know anything about suspending players? 

Look at Major League Baseball. MLB, as we know, suspends pitchers for three or four games for things like throwing fastballs at heads - knowing, when they do this, that the suspended pitcher will almost never miss a game. Why? Because of the rotation that allows them to only pitch after half a week or so of rest between games.  Who woulda thunk that the NFL actually wanted to punish someone?

Brady's appeal, which is almost inevitable, is being met with both support and derision. On the one hand, he didn't actually touch the footballs himself, but apparently put big-league pressure on the locker room staff to the point where they decided to manipulate things to Brady's liking.  And since he wasn't culpable in the act, he shouldn't be suspended, or shouldn't be suspended so harshly, or something.  

On the other hand, there's this sentiment, eloquently expressed by Ian O'Connor (via ESPN):
This isn't Pete Rose gambling on baseball or Lance Armstrong and Alex Rodriguez pumping one illegal drug after another into their bodies for a competitive edge. Brady should tell the public that he thought he was merely driving 63 in a 55 mph zone, that he didn't realize taking some air out of the ball was a big deal, and that he now realizes it is a very big deal. 
He should apologize to (Pats owner Robert) Kraft for lying to him and making the owner look and sound like a fool...He should apologize to (the locker room guys) for putting franchise-player pressure on employees in no position to resist it...and, importantly, to fans everywhere who thought Tom Brady would be among the last quarterbacks to spike the integrity of his sport.
'Franchise-player pressure' is an understandable concept, right? It's the kind of pressure that 'allows' a manager to harass an employee. It's the kind of pressure that 'compels' people to lie for their bosses, or shred documents, or to erase a tape while doing a previously undefined yoga pose, or any of a host of things along those lines.

I don't think, though, that 'franchise player pressure' is what Texas Senator and Republican Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz exerted when he questioned whether the training exercise known as Jade Helm 15 was in fact a cover for an Obama administration military takeover of Texas. (I wondered about a related issue last week). Cruz has been assured by the Pentagon that everything's on the up and up, he said.

I'm wondering, though, how the person at the Pentagon who responded to Cruz's staff on this managed to do it with a straight face. And whether, in the end, the person would really rather have responded with this:
Perhaps, then, you would prefer not an official proclamation but a reasoned answer. As a master debater in college (Princeton, right?), you surely appreciate the reliability of logic, your public statements over the past few years notwithstanding. If you are disinclined to take the United States Armed Forces at their word when we promise no ill intentions towards Texas, then perhaps your considerable and vaunted intellectual powers, which once posited the regrowth of hymens as a guard against unauthorized incursions in domestic affairs, could be swayed by incontrovertible fact. 
That's just one small portion of a hysterical response offered  by "Secretary Ashton Carter" on Huffington Post the other day. I'm sure the Secretary wishes he could get away with saying something like that. Heck, I can think of lots of times I would love to be able to respond like that, can't you?

The post ends with a comment about Cruz being "the rudest Canadian we've ever run across."  And I wonder, is that last point debatable?