Cheating in professional sports is nothing new. Over time, in almost every well-known professional sport, scandals have been uncovered. Whenever a cheating scandal comes to light, as a fan, you hope that the proper punishment will be administered and that the “cheater does not prosper.” In 2015 the New England Patriots, a professional football team in the National Football League, found themselves under the spotlight. The Patriots had been caught cheating multiple times in the past decade, so when “Deflategate” was introduced to the public, few were surprised. “’Deflategate’ was a National Football League (NFL) controversy involving the allegation that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady ordered the deliberate deflation of footballs used in the Patriots’ victory against the Indianapolis Colts in the 2014 American Football Conference (AFC) Championship Game.” As a rule, a football used in an NFL game has to be inflated to weigh 12 ½ to 13 ½ pounds.” If a ball does not weigh that amount, the ball is ineligible for use. After a player on the Indianapolis Colts intercepted a pass that Brady had thrown and brought the ball to the sideline, the Colts realized something was off about the ball. After looking into the balls that Brady was using, it turned out that 11 of the 12 footballs were underinflated. In other words, the balls that Brady was using were deflated; hence the name “Deflategate.” The controversy resulted in Brady being suspended for four games, the team was fined 1 million dollars, and the team forfeited two draft selections in 2016. The next year, after Brady finished serving his suspension, he lead the Patriots to a Super Bowl victory.
This post was originally published on the Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal website on February 5, 2020. The original post can be accessed via the Archived Link button above.
Milstein, Steven, "Sometimes Cheaters Do Prosper" (2020). AELJ Blog. 220.