It’s one thing to yell and scream on the Internet; it’s another to take the time to address, stamp, and mail your anger to a federal judge. But that’s exactly what 21 people did to Judge Richard Berman, who presided over the brouhaha between the NFL and the player’s union regarding Tom Brady’s suspension and how much the superstar QB did or didn’t know about those deflated balls before tossing his cell phone. There are 22 letters in total (although one is repeated twice) and they vary in tone, location, even font. Two included amicus briefs. One was written by hand. One came from a guy nicknamed Houk.
But with few exceptions, they all touched on a few common themes. The Ballghazi investigation was garbage. Tom Brady is awesome. And nearly everyone hates Roger Goodell’s NFL.
The letters were added to the court docket today, making them public, along with individual notes from Berman thanking every person for their submission. First, the the handwritten passion of Girstchen Sharp.
Letter writer Keith Guernsey came close in terms of heat. Guernsey said he “has never seen the level of ineptitude and incompetence displayed by Roger Goodell and his band of yes men during this whole Deflategate fiasco.”
The court docket doesn’t say if Brady and Goodell got their cc copies.
Few letter writers came out and directly denied Brady cheated. Among those who did, though, was John Homer Hikory, aka Houk. He said the problem is “an unintelligent society and fan base biased against the Patriots.”
Several questioned the league’s investigation and wanted to know why the referees weren’t punished.
Others offered their own thoughts on how the investigation should have gone. They had questions for Goodell, their own ways to examine the ball pressure, and questioned if the deflation was even that big of an advantage after all.
One man was so concerned about the NFL’s bad science he submitted his own amicus brief to the court.
There was a second amicus brief submitted to the court, this one less about science and more about the law. Lawyer Steven E. Kramer admitted to being a Patriots fan but told the court “both my submission and the suggestions provided herein reflect a concern with the flaws in the current process, as opposed to favoritism for Mr. Brady.” He appeals to the court that “a less successful franchise than the Patriots would undoubtedly not be subjected to the same scrutiny and sanctions that have been imposed on the Patriots and Tom Brady.”
Vincent F. Femia from Northborough, Mass., did a three-page outline, including Roman numerals, outlining the faulty case against Brady. He doesn’t disclose if he’s a Patriots fan, but notes that he was a classmate with Ted Wells in the Holy Cross Class of 1972 although “we barely knew each other there.”
He saves his fiercest anger—and the most numbered bullet points—for his thoughts on the Wells report and Goodell, who at one point practices “the height of disingenuousness.”
Robert Wilensky offered his own solution: fine Brady $1 million instead.
Another suggestion on punishment, from Liz Minnerly:
There are just two letters in support of upholding Brady’s suspension. One is from a teacher in Reno, Nev., who is worried about the example Brady is setting for the children.
She goes on to note that even sixth graders know not to cheat.
And she has a P.S.
The second comes from a man in Connecticut who says he’s an “ordinary football fan.”
Here is the last letter on the docket, a thank-you note from after Berman’s decision.
All the letters, divided into three parts, are below.
Image via Getty