A local radio host declared the tiresome “Deflate-gate” will be put to rest, finally, because the officials did not mark the pre-game air pressures of New England’s 11 below-pressure footballs.
That’s the same logic I use when I tell the District Court judge I wasn’t speeding because the police officer didn’t fill all the blanks on my ticket. I’ll also argue that everybody else was going the same speed and, besides, the speed limit should never be that low for that area. The thing is, I heavy-pedal it enough to know how fast I’m driving. And Tom Brady has thrown enough footballs to know when one is under-inflated. Whether he or any other Patriot was responsible for the deflation does not negate the fact that he knew he was throwing footballs that were not up to standard.
In a morally ideal world, Brady would sorta-sorta ‘fess up: “I didn’t deflate the footballs, but I knew they were deflated,” just like I would sorta-sorta ‘fess up: “Your, Honor, I know the radar gun was malfunctioning, but, yeah, I was speeding.”
When you’re in seventh-grade PE, when you commit a foul, you raise your hand (presumably in the direction of the imaginary scorekeeper). But that’s not real sports. Runners on second steal catcher’s signals. NBA players flop. Volleyball players pretend they didn’t touch a spike by raising and wiggling their hands. Receivers pop up and signal for first downs after short-hopping passes.
Those tactics have been going for a while. The point of this loooong digression is that on this final recruiting weekend, all the tactics are used. One of the no-nos — a coach leaving a program and then re-directing his previous school’s recruits to his new school — is now common practice. Sports is not always about good manners.
One of the exceptions was in 1985 when UH was looking to hire a basketball coach. Mike Montgomery, who was 133-66 at Montana, was a leading candidate. But the salary was $58,000 and back-room politics ruled decisions in Hawaii in general and Manoa campus in particular. Stan Sheriff, who was UH’s athletic director at the time, just didn’t have the heart to place Montgomery and his family into that situation. Sheriff passed on the coach he knew was the best among the finalist, an act that he — correctly — hoped would preserve Montgomery’s career ascension. UH hired Frank Arnold, who lasted two years. Montgomery eventually would coach Stanford for 18 seasons before being hired by the Warriors — the Golden State Warriors.