The New England Patriots received their DeflateGate punishment on Monday, with Tom Brady given a four-game suspension, and the team docked a pair of draft picks and fined $1 million. Opinions on the punishment have flown fast and furious, capped if on impressive fashion with Donald Trump showing up on SportsCenter to talk about it (I'm not kidding).
San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Darnell Dockett weighed in on the subject with a take that is not entirely surprising. As you can see above, he seems to ascribe more to the notion of win at all costs, and "If you're not cheating, you're not trying." And I don't know that I entirely disagree with him.
It would be nice if teams all played by the rules and it was some kind of level playing field, but cheating in sports takes back pretty much since the beginning of sports. Whenever that has been a chance to win something, someone has often looked for a loophole, or simply barreled right through the rules. Stealing signs and spit balls in baseball are two of the more notable examples, but something like PED usage in the major sports is even bigger. And even things like illegal video-taping and cheating on the salary cap are something that plenty of teams have done.
Given all that has gone down, a Patriots fan put together a website about all the cheating around the NFL. YourTeamCheats.com attempts to put together a complete look at the cheating that has gone on around the NFL. It is not complete, and it is a little inconsistent in its assessments, but the point remains the same. Teams have cheated plenty of times.
People have been talking about asterisks for Brady and the Patriots Super Bowls, but you could put asterisks next to a variety of teams and players over the years. I mean Jerry Rice admitted to illegally using stickum at one point in his career. It is just one small example, but cheating happens. I don't have a problem with the Patriots getting punished for getting caught and potentially trying to cover it up, but let's not pretend the integrity of the game was ever really at issue because the Patriots deflated some footballs. Integrity has been out of the picture for a long time.