In a way, it is Tom Brady’s own fault he found himself in this Kafkaesque experience in New York yesterday: making his case to a Deflategate appeals judge named Roger Goodell, the same NFL commissioner who issued Brady a four-game suspension in the aftermath of Ted Wells’ report that Brady was “at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities” of two locker room attendants who allegedly deflated footballs prior to last season’s AFC Championship game.
This is not a judgment on Brady’s innocence or guilt, which is legitimately in question given the milquetoast language utilized by Wells, and a subsequent American Enterprise Institute report that utilized science (science!) to call into question the very notion of whether the Patriots deflated the football in the first place. Really, this is the fault of any player who willingly voted for a collective bargaining agreement that ceded more power to Goodell in exchange for a larger cut of the profits.
“When they negotiate, the league holds firm on having the authority to make these disciplinary decisions in exchange for more money for players,” according to ESPN legal analyst Roger Cossack. “When the players break it down, they see that maybe 5 percent of them would have this type of problem while the other 95 percent say: ‘Give us more money and you can make all the decisions because it’s never going to affect me.’”
Maybe now that it’s affecting the face of the league itself, the players may wish to reconsider that line of thought.
STAYING POWER: So Athletics co-owner Lew Wolff says he has no interest in sharing a stadium site with the Raiders, and Raiders owner Mark Davis says his team now faces a make-or-break moment with the completion of a preliminary financing plan for a new stadium. And all the city of Oakland can do is keep appealing to both sides, in the hope that maybe they can keep at least one of the two franchises.
It’s now a high-stakes game of chicken, with Oakland facing the very real possibility that, once the Warriors vacate for San Francisco, the city will be left with nothing except a patch of barren land that once used to house champions.
DRAFT DEFENSE: If you were a rival NBA team who envies the Warriors’ core group and would prefer not to see them construct a dynasty, would you be willing to take David Lee’s bloated contract off their hands, your reward (other than an overpriced role player) being the 30th pick of an NBA draft that is replete with question marks?
This is what the Warriors face now, in the midst of their success: Their best chance of enhancing their roster this offseason may come if Steve Kerr and Bob Myers dig through the pile of prospects for another Draymond Green-like steal — in this case, another shooter, most likely someone in the vein of Stanford’s Anthony Brown late in the draft.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS: Colin Kaepernick was loudly booed by fans when he appeared on the big screen at the Andre Ward-Patrick Smith fight last Saturday night at Oracle Arena. Moments later, Stephen Curry appeared on the big screen and was cheered wildly. Some of that may have been a product of rogue Raider fans, but it was also a reminder to the 49ers quarterback — who has apparently had an excellent offseason to date — that Bay Area sports fans have been spoiled by high expectations in recent years, which leaves him little room for error this season.
DIDDY REALLY DO THAT? So many questions after Sean “Diddy” Combs was arrested on various charges, including felony assault with a deadly weapon, after allegedly using a kettlebell to threaten a UCLA coach who had treated his son (a Bruins defensive back) roughly during practice. For instance: If Diddy is strong enough to swing around a kettlebell with that much velocity and force, shouldn’t he be the one on scholarship at UCLA?