Scott Fowler’s quick takes:
▪ The NFL must suspend Tom Brady for his role in “Deflategate.”
Brady being “generally aware” of footballs likely being deflated by New England’s equipment staff in the AFC Championship Game in violation of NFL rules seems well-established to me by investigator Ted Wells’ 243-page report.
I know the phrases “probable” and “generally aware” are tossed around like salad in the report, which did not prove beyond a shadow of a doubt what Brady knew and when he knew it.
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But let’s remember that the charges against Greg Hardy ultimately didn’t stick in court, and the former Panther still got a 10-week NFL suspension, which he is appealing.
I think Brady should be suspended for four games, enough to make a Patriots team that often seems to be on the edge of rules violations to understand there is a penalty when you get caught.
The Patriots would howl about such a punishment, of course, and they would appeal the heck out of it. They would say they would have beaten the Colts in the AFC title game even if softballs or beach balls had been used that day, and that’s absolutely true.
But that doesn’t take away from the issue: The Patriots were trying to cheat, and from the salty text messages exchanged by the equipment guys, Brady sounds like he was right in the middle of it. That tarnishes the game, and that must be punished.
▪ Congrats to Cam Newton for going back to Auburn and getting his degree. That makes all the community work he does for schools in the Charlotte area all the more valuable.
I also liked the decision Newton made not to march in Auburn’s graduation, because it certainly would have turned that graduation into a Newton-first circus. And as for him saying the diploma would be displayed as prominently as his Heisman Trophy, Cam should go one better than that.
To really make a point, the diploma should be displayed more prominently than the Heisman, and Newton should relay that information to every group of kids he speaks to from now on.
▪ Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones signing La’el Collins to a contract was as predictable as a Texas rancher wearing an oversized belt buckle.
▪ Rory McIlroy’s decision to play the Wells Fargo Championship starting Thursday is good for Charlotte and the tournament, which needed a boost of starpower.
▪ The NBA playoffs are fun, but can they not move a little faster? The second round has been going on for about a year.
▪ I know new running back Cameron Artis-Payne says he is going to introduce himself to teammates as “Cam” because “that’s what my mom calls me.” I don’t think it’s going to stick, though. The Panthers have an alpha male Cam already, and his hobby is creating nicknames. Artis-Payne’s mom certainly can call him whatever she wants, but his Carolina teammates will figure out something else quickly.
▪ Whatever happened to “Hi, Mom!”? Athletes used to say it to cameras all the time on the sidelines. If you are lucky enough to still have your mom on Mother’s Day, tell her “Hi, Mom.”
And I don’t mean for you to text her a couple of emojis and figure that’s good enough. I mean you should call her or go see her. Right now.