Let’s quickly hump this Ballghazi scandal one more time—okay, this probably won’t be the last instance—for the opportunity to take another swing at the NFL for having no clue what the fuck they’re doing. The maximum fine allowable under the current CBA is $500,000, yet the league docked the Patriots $1 million, the biggest team fine in NFL history. Why? Because the NFL does whatever it wants.
The NFL’s reasoning behind the amount is that the Patriots were fined $500,000 for doing the bad thing, and another $500,000 for not admitting that they did the bad thing. Ted Wells’s report said that locker room attendant Jim McNally wasn’t made available for a followup interview, and Tom Brady didn’t give up his phone to the league’s investigators. (Why would he ever?)
Don’t shed any tears for the Patriots, but this is bad news for future violators. Down the road, another team will do something awful. If the public calls for blood loudly enough, does this mean the NFL, a league fueled by public reaction, could deliver a $2 million fine to appease the masses, divided up into four easy payments of $500,000? That’s $500,000 for what you did, $500,000 for not admitting you did it, $500,000 because you were mean to the league, and $500,000 for changing your Twitter profile photo.
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