BOSTON (CBS) – Tom Brady's image may be suffering its toughest day ever – at least among those who believe the NFL investigation's profusely-qualified findings.
But has lasting damage been done to the commercial appeal of that image?
"I think there may be a short-term hit but long-term, I don't think so," says sports and broadcasting agent Steve Freyer. "He is bigger than football at this point in time. Plus, he's well-known as a family man, and I think if you look at this issue in the context of other athletes like Lance Armstrong, Mike Tyson, Michael Vick and so forth, the child-abusers, the wife-beaters, this doesn't even show up on the radar."
Sports marketing expert and agent Cleon Daskilakis agreed that the scandal won't leave a lasting impact on Brady.
"Tom Brady has proven himself as a leader, he's proven himself in the community, he's a standup personality, this in the long run will not affect him," adds Daskilakis. "Nobody's gotten hurt here, there's no domestic violence or anything, and this is what we're talking about? A guy who's done so much and played so well? You can't take that away."
Still, there are blaring headlines across the nation today flatly calling Brady a "liar" for his denial of any knowledge of ball tampering, and the NFL report does offer at least some circumstantial evidence contradicting that. But Freyer thinks most sports fans will put it in perspective.
"Players are always going to try to get an edge, so I think in the larger picture the sports fan understands that this is a sports issue, it's not a personal bad behavior issue," Daskilakis added.
And what of those who don't dismiss the questions so readily?
"The Patriots are either loved or hated, but that's what you want, you want someone to have visceral feelings about you," said Freyer. "And people definitely have visceral feelings about the Patriots."
To Daskalakis, this affair could leave Brady more popular and marketable than ever in the end.
"It humanizes him," he says. "His brand is not going to be tainted."
If Brady were a stock, Daskalakis says "I'd buy right now. Now's a great time to buy."
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