Tom Brady was received like a hero at Gillette Stadium during his first home game following his Deflategate suspension. But did he really deserve the warm welcome?
Last week was a busy one for Tom Brady. On October 16, he made a triumphant return to Gillette Stadium in his first home game after a four-week suspension, handing his team a big win against the Cincinnati Bengals. The welcome he was given was worthy of a hero — crowds chanted his name, fans sported number 12 jerseys and held up signs cheering him on, and a pseudo-emotional video played before he walked out onto the field.
In the middle of all this, there is a question that begs to be answered: Does Brady deserve all of the love and admiration he got on Sunday? On the one hand, it’s easy to say that he did. He’s finally back on track to carry his team through a season that had a rocky start, and that is certainly a cause for celebration among Patriots fans. And not only did he lead his team to a 35 – 17 victory, but during that game he also became the fourth quarterback in NFL history to complete 5,000 passes.
On the other hand, however, let’s not forget the reason why he even needed to make a comeback in the first place: he was suspended for a four-week period following the Deflategate scandal. Brady may have paid his dues and sat through the suspension, but it still feels as though there are unanswered questions and a lack of accountability following Deflategate. Even if all legal procedures related to the scandal are over, its repercussions can still be felt all over the NFL. So it’s fair to ask: is Deflategate really over?
Tom Brady certainly seems to think so, and many Patriots fans agree with him. But Brady’s actions in the months following the scandal left a lot of room for questions. He wasn’t altogether cooperative during the investigation that followed the incident, refusing to hand over phone records that could’ve helped prove whether he had any previous knowledge of the deflated footballs. He even destroyed his old phone while the investigation was ongoing, which doesn’t exactly exude innocence. The NFL also offered him a deal that would cut his suspension by at least 50% if he admitted culpability for the scandal, but he turned it down. And even after he accepted the four-week suspension, he dodged financial losses by negotiating a big pay cut in exchange for an $8 million bonus, which was left untouched during his suspension. So there you have it — guilty or not, Brady’s behavior throughout the entire Deflategate scandal demonstrates a certain level of arrogance, which he was never truly answered for.
Many Patriots fans may continue to adore him, but there are those who don’t think he deserved the warm welcome he got last Sunday. Maybe he needs to earn back the fans’ love and admiration. Maybe he needs to prove himself truly worthy of their respect. You may then ask: how can he redeem himself? Well, he could just be humble for once and apologize to fans for the way he handled the aftermath of Deflategate, but that’s not likely to happen anytime soon. The next best option would be to lead his team to a Super Bowl win this season. After all, the Patriots are currently leading the AFC East, which means they’re on the right path to ensuring their spot in the playoffs. Not to mention that Brady might like the idea of having a Super Bowl ring for each of the fingers on his right hand.