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Judge rules in favor of Tom Brady; smacks down NFL and Roger Goodell

The Deflategate mess has blown up in the face of Roger Goodell and the NFL. They took a misdemeanor infraction by Tom Brady and turned it into a Watergate-level scandal.

Goodell’s foolishness may not hurt the NFL in today’s reality TV world where any exposure seems to be good exposure, but the NFL was coming off one of the most exciting playoffs and Super Bowl in years, and there has been little talk about those great games.

Goodell has become an embarrassment, and this decision, whether upheld or not on appeal, has really harmed the integrity of the league.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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Roger Goodell channels Sergeant Schultz

Roger Goodell claims he didn’t see the Ray Rice video where he punches and knocks out his fiancee Janay Palmer (now Janay Rice). I guess I believe him, as there’s no way anyone would suspend that jackass for only two games after seeing this video.

What’s clear is that Goodell didn’t want to see it. Goodell employed the Sergeant Schultz strategy of closing his eyes to an obvious problem. Anyone with a brain would know that if Ms. Palmer was knocked out in the elevator, any footage of the event would be toxic and would require real punishment.

This mess overshadows some good things Goodell is about to do with the revision of the NFL’s marijuana policy, the implementation of HGH testing and (hopefully) ending the suspensions of Josh Gordon and Wes Welker who were punished under idiotic rules.

That stuff won’t get much attention now, as the footage of Rice’s brutal punch across the jaw of Palmer will be played over and over again, rightfully condemning Goodell and the NFL for the pitiful response to this shameful incident.

The Ray Rice mess

It’s hard to find a dissenting opinion about this, unless of course you’re a Ravens fans. Despite his apology and trying to do things right since the incident, there’s little Ray Rice can do to erase the image of him dragging his unconscious girlfriend out of that elevator. And that’s a problem for Roger Goodell, who made one of the most criticized decisions in recent memory with his paltry two-game suspension of Rice.

The fallout has been ugly, and it could get worse if Josh Gordon loses a year for barely failing a marijuana test that wouldn’t have counted had the B sample been counted first.

The NFL is as popular as ever, but now that popularity results in even greater scrutiny. All the positive press the NFL gets when it breaks out the pink colors every may turn sour this year as everyone will be focusing on the fact that Ray Rice has been permitted to play.

Meanwhile, Goodell has been hiding from the press. Let’s see if he says anything this weekend at the Hall of Fame festivities.

Patriots do right thing with Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez New England Patriots

When you read this article about the strength of the case against Aaron Hernandez, you realize immediately that the New England Patriots had little choice in releasing him after he was arrested for murder. It’s hard to cover your tracks in today’s world, and it appears that the police have a witness along with a ton of information regarding the timeline that implicates Hernandez. The defense seems to have an uphill battle in this case.

This decision by the Patriots also spares Roger Goodell and the NFL from having to deal with a suspension. Hernandez has been released so there’s no need to go through a process that will demand even more media attention.

Around the NFL: 10 Nuggets Heading into Free Agency

1. How about Roger Goodell pouring a big cup of antifreeze on everyone’s fun this past weekend? Due to a rule change that allowed teams to gauge the interest of prospective free agents, football fans hovered around Adam Schefter’s Twitter page thinking that free agency was essentially going to start at Midnight on Saturday morning. But Goodell’s memo to teams earlier that day killed everyone’s buzz. Here’s part of the memo, tweeted by Schefter that night: “Clubs are advised that prior to the beginning of the new League Year it is impermissible for a club to enter into an agreement of any kind, express or implied, oral or written, or promises, undertakings, representations, commitments, inducements, assurances of intent or understandings of any kind concerning the terms or conditions of employment offered to, or to be offered to, any prospective Unrestricted Free Agent for inclusion in a Player Contract after the start of the new League Year.” Deathly afraid of tampering, can you imagine how those conversations went on Friday night between teams and free agents? “Hi Mike Wallace, this is Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland. I just wanted to call and see if you liked the color teal in combination with white and a splash of orange. Yeah, no, I’m not asking you if you want to be a member of the Dolphins. That would be tampering. I’m specifically asking you about color scheme. You do like that color scheme? How about Joe Philbin? Do you like Joe Philbin’s face? Maybe you’d like to see more of Philbin, say, on a daily basis in the fall? Grrrrrrrrreat. Do you also hate purple and the entire state of Minnesota like most reasonable human beings do? Excellent. I’ll see you and your agent at 4:00PM ET on Tuesday then…”

2. People are getting caught up in whether or not the Chiefs should draft Luke Joeckel with the first overall pick when they just placed their franchise tag on Branden Albert. While it would be unprecedented for a team to draft a right tackle with the first overall pick, it doesn’t mean that Kansas City will shy away from arguably the safest prospect in this year’s class. Albert was one of the best pass-blocking offensive tackles in the league last year, but he also missed three games due to a back injury and who knows if the Chiefs will be able to lock him up long term. They could draft Joeckel, play him at right tackle and then re-asses the situation a year from now. If Albert’s back once again becomes an issue or the two sides can’t agree on a long-term deal, then the Chiefs have their left tackle of the future in Joeckel. If they lock Albert up long-term, then at worst they have two book-end tackles for the next six-plus years. Considering defensive coordinators constantly move pass rushers around in effort to create mismatches, that’s not exactly a worst-case scenario. And with no true No. 1 overall talent in this year’s draft, there’s no reason to bypass Joeckel with the top pick just because he could wind up playing right tackle.

3. The best thing for both the Jets and Darrelle Revis is if the cornerback drops off the map and shows up to OTAs healthy and in shape. Owner Woody Johnson isn’t being cheap – he just can’t pay Revis what he wants long-term because his former GM put the team in cap hell by handing out ridiculous contracts to players like Mark Sanchez. And since the Jets can’t afford him, Revis could help himself by not destroying his own trade value. This includes avoiding telling the media that it would be “awesome” to play for the 49ers and reiterating how you want to be the highest paid defensive player in the league. Potential trade partners are already leery about Revis’ knee, parting with premium draft picks, and clearing the necessary cap space to sign him long term. He doesn’t need to provide teams with more reasons to tell the Jets ‘thanks but no thanks.’

4. Percy Harvin’s situation in Minnesota seems combustible, but GM Rick Spielman has wisely suggested that the disgruntled wide receiver isn’t going anywhere. Some fans have opined that Spielman should trade Harvin and then sign a free agent receiver like Mike Wallace or Greg Jennings. But the Vikings are on the rise and thus, parting ways with a playmaker makes little sense. He’s already under contract and the team could potentially line up next year with Harvin, Jennings, Jarius Wright, Adrian Peterson and Kyle Rudolph, as opposed to some combination of Peterson, Rudolph, Jennings, Wright and an unproven rookie. And maybe a veteran like Jennings could have a profound impact on Harvin, who has seemingly alienating himself from coaches and teammates. While the defense and offensive line proved to be underrated, the Vikings made the playoffs last year almost solely riding Peterson’s coattails. Unless the situation is so bad that the team needs to wash its hands completely of Harvin as soon as possible, addition is key – not subtraction.

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