Federal Judge Richard Berman nullified Tom Brady’s four-game suspension Thursday, and suddenly all was right with the world. Signs at the final preseason game declared with relief “Tom Brady is Free” and “Richard Berman for President.” Why not?
Even if there was no clear exoneration of Brady or declaration of the Patriots’ innocence, and even if the NFL is appealing, it was a clear-eyed unequivocal decision on why Brady’s punishment was wrong: the lack of evidence in the Wells Report, upon which the suspension had wholly been based; the failure of the NFL to notify Brady in advance that he could be punished for a vague knowledge of someone else’s alleged wrong-doing; denying Brady access to the same deposition material that the League had; the lack of independence of the arbitrator.
It was a joyful moment. But does it make me an outlier to think there may possibly be more important stories than the deflation of Deflategate? Heartbreaking, gut-wrenching stories of the plight of Syrian and Iraqi immigrants trying desperately to flee to Europe, drowning or starving to death in their attempts. Police officers getting shot in cold blood for doing their jobs or even while just gassing up their cruiser. A Millis police officer sparking a manhunt and school shutdown after faking an attack on himself. The continuing, overwhelming failure of the Department of Children and Families to protect little children. Cost overruns and mismanagement of the state’s transportation system. The disappearance of the Arctic glacier and other effects of climate change.
Summer is when we want Jaws-level stories on shark attacks, sordid tales of a hypocritical politician’s sexual peccadilloes, or an erstwhile celebrity’s fall from grace. It’s bubble gum for the mind. This summer’s addition has been the bizarre performance of Donald Trump. It has the fascination of a train wreck or car crash. We know we shouldn’t be wallowing in it, but somehow we have to watch. We need the distraction. It is our entertainment.
Thursday QB12 will start against the Steelers. I will certainly be watching as will millions of others. It’s time to focus on the real game. Things that count. Might we all see a comparable shift of media attention away from Donald Trump (most of whose supporters believe that Obama is a Muslim and not born in the US) to others with a more serious chance of governing a nation with complex problems domestically and internationally?
We want summer’s pleasures to go on forever. But as Labor Day approaches, it’s time to put away our beach balls, pails and shovels and turn to more important concerns, from the Chinese economy, ISIS and Iran to our kids or grandkids returning to school. The increasingly loud sounds of crickets is a sobering harbinger of season’s end. But for many, after the dreadful winter, this was a superlative summer. And its distractions were fun while they lasted.
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