Is today the day? The day of the judge’s ruling that’ll deliver us from the seven-plus months of emetic debate over deflated footballs? (Or leads to an further arbitration or an appeal, in which case there may never be an end to Ballghazi.) Better cram in all the peripheral news while we still can. Like Houston Texans owner Bob McNair, who went on the radio and declared that his star player would never even think of doing something so louche as destroying evidence.
“I think we [the NFL] could have handled it better, I think the Patriots could have handled it better, I think Brady could have handled it better,” McNair said.
“You know, when you look back on it, if Brady had just said, ‘Look, my guys know I like a softer ball, and that’s what I like, and so they do it. But I don’t go out and check the pressure of the balls.’ ... I don’t think there would have been an issue,” McNair continued. “It would have been a problem with the guys on the training staff who deflated the balls, and the Patriots would have got some kind of minor penalty; it wouldn’t have been a big deal.”
That’s a fair reading if and only if you believe Brady was involved (or “generally aware”) of the deflation. I believe he was, and McNair clearly does, and it seems like the majority of football fans do (even if they don’t necessarily support the punishment or the extrajudicial process that led to it), but telling a guy his denial only made things worse is inherently an assumption that his denial is disingenuous.
McNair went on to say that an upstanding American like J.J. Watt wouldn’t have acted like Brady did.
“I think if it was J.J. Watt, I think he would have been cooperative and it wouldn’t be a question,” McNair said. “I don’t think J.J. would destroy his cell phone.”
Other things J.J. Watt would have done if accused:
- Holed up in his faux-rustic cabin to think about what he did.
- Gone to NFL headquarters with a rag and a bottle of polish to literally restore shine to the shield he tarnished.
- Suited up in a cilice for the duration of the season as penitence.
- Identified and tracked down the real deflator and beaten him to death with a tree stump for besmirching the good name of football.
- Not owned a cell phone in the first place because it’s just a distraction from deadlifting.
McNair reemphasized that it was Brady’s and the Patriots’ lack of cooperation that “really upset the commissioner,” but also allowed that the NFL “[doesn’t] have conclusive evidence.” Those two quotes combine to explain exactly why we’re still here, in September, obsessing over a few fractional PSI. God willing, soon it’ll all be over.