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After a four-game suspension was handed down to Tom Brady following the "Deflate-Gate" investigation, the football world erupted into a frenzy of glee and outrage Monday evening.
Unsurprisingly, Brady's teammate, running back LeGarrette Blount, came to his defense:
But even opponents and rivals — including Giants punter Steve Weatherford — a member of the team that last defeated Brady in a Super Bowl were outraged:
Brady will not be able to return to action until the sixth week of the season — New England has an early bye week. The Patriots play — who else? — the Indianapolis Colts, who in January lost the AFC Championship to the New England and were the ones who notified the league about the deflated balls. Their long snapper observed:
Although the Colts' D'Qwell Jackson, whose interception of a Brady pass led to Deflate-Gate, texted a reporter on the NFL's website: "We've moved on. We're not thinking about it anymore."
And a relieved Dallas Cowboys team gloated over the fact that Brady will not play against them, but sympathized on their website that Brady may have lost his only chance to play in their stadium.
Brady's agent said Brady will not take this sack lying down.
"The discipline is ridiculous and has no legitimate basis," Don Yee said in a statement In my opinion, this outcome was pre-determined; there was no fairness in the Wells investigation whatsoever.
"We will appeal, and if the hearing officer is completely independent and neutral, I am very confident the Wells Report will be exposed as an incredibly frail exercise in fact-finding and logic."
Prominent New York lawyer Joe Tacopina, who has represented Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez and rapper Jay-Z, concurred with Brady's decision to fight.
"This [suspension] defies even the flimsiest version of due process -- and I hate the Patriots," Tacopina said. "These investigative bodies are an arm of the league — 'more probable than not,' that's the best you can do in a one-sided investigation?"
But Jonathan Israel, a partner at to Foley & Lardner, a high-end sports law firm, was sanguine about the punishment although he called it a "pretty big deal."
"It's somewhat consistent with past precedents," he said, adding "How much can you possibly reduce it?"
Israel noted that the harsh penalty against the Patriots organization -- a $1 million fine and loss of a first round and a fourth round draft pick -- showed the league was serious about the issue despite NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's cordial relationship with Pat's owner Robert Kraft.
"It [Deflate-Gate] clearly impacts the league," he said.
The Patriots' reaction was initially subdued: a five paragraph story on the side column of their website entitled: "NFL delivers severe punishment to Patriots."
But later, Kraft released a statement saying the team did not believe the balls were deflated and the punishment "far exceeded any reasonable expectation."
He called the investigation one-sided and stood by his quarterback.
"Tom Brady has our unconditional support," Kraft said in his statement. "Our belief in him has not wavered."
Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who out-dueled Brady in two Super Bowls, told the New York Post that he wasn't surprised at Brady's suspension given the integrity of the game was at stake.
But,"Tom has been a friend of mine. I don’t like to see anyone get suspended. I don’t like to see anybody get in trouble," Manning told the newspaper. "I don’t like to see anything happen to the NFL or to a player or to another quarterback. In no way am I glad to see this happen."
Manning told the Post that after Deflate-Gate broke, he experimented with under-inflated footballs out of curiosity.
"Whether it’s an advantage or not, I guess that’s all dependent on what a quarterback likes or what it’s like in cold weather, when it’s wet," he told the paper.