Recently elected Pro Football Hall of Famer Charles Haley is making the media rounds, and he had some interesting comments about Tom Brady and the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. Haley spoke with Clark Judge, and suggested the Patriots Super Bowl victories were all tainted.
"Joe didn't have to cheat ... I've lost all respect (for Brady). When your integrity is challenged in the game of football, to me, all his Super Bowls are tainted. You have to say this just didn't happen overnight. Who wants that shadow over them? I could be wrong. But I realize there were 12 balls deflated and 12 ain't. Then you've got (Patriots coach Bill) Belichick coming on three different times trying to explain it... You know something is wrong ...
"This is what Charles Haley believes - it's going to come back to haunt him one day ... If the league doesn't come down on this guy... Everybody is talking about it. Nobody believes it was by accident. It is what it is ...
"I'm not going to take any of his Super Bowl rings away from him. But it's sad that it has to be tainted like it is right now. Hopefully they'll come out and let us know what really happened. Then all the mystery is gone."
The subsequent reports about DeflateGate provide enough doubt that I don't think we will ever know anything for certain. Of course, considering the Patriots were previously busted for SpyGate, a lot of people are going to doubt they are on the up-and-up with regard to the deflated footballs. No matter what evidence returns in the Ted Wells investigation, a lot of people just are not going to believe them.
The principal issues involved provisions included in quarterback Jim Druckenmiller's rookie contract, deals signed by linebacker Lee Woodall and tight end Brent Jones, and allegations of an undisclosed agreement involving quarterback Steve Young.
This is not an apples to apples comparison, but when you start getting into the idea of someone being tainted, it often just comes down to a matter of who actually got caught cheating. If you get caught, you're bringing it on yourself, but it's hard for me to get too fussy about whether or not the Patriots cheated in a league where it is win at all costs.