An NFL investigation's conclusion that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was probably "at least generally aware" that team staffers had illegally deflated game balls prior to the AFC championship game has prompted sports pundits to question the football star's legacy.
"The worst thing about it is that a guy that's on top of the world, who seems to have everything -- a great family, a legacy, the Super Bowl, still feels so much pressure and the need to cheat,"New York Times sports columnist Bill Rhoden said Thursday on "CBS This Morning." "Why do people on Wall Street, people who have all the money, need to have more money?"
Many insist the Patriots would have outscored the Colts with or without deflated balls, but Rhoden said "I don't care if they'd beat them 205-7, that's not the point that we're talking about here."
"We have children and we say, you know, don't cross against the light. They say, 'It's okay, I got home safely. 'Don't take the car.' 'Well it's okay I got home safely.' 'Well one day you might not get home safely.'"
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Brady's agent, Don Yee, said investigators reached a conclusion before looking at the facts. Yee claims the investigators don't understand pro football. He even suggests the NFL conducted a sting operation with the Indianapolis Colts, the team that lost that title game to the Patriots.
In January, Patriots owner Robert Kraft demanded an apology from the league once the Patriots were found not guilty of breaking any rules regarding using under-inflated footballs. In February on "CBS This Morning," Kraft said "the league pretty much had full charge of the footballs.
"Bottom line is, we won our championship game 45-7 and we won the Super Bowl 28-24," he said.
Thursday's findings were forwarded to the league's disciplinary chief for potential punishment. Brady could be fined or face a suspension that would keep him out of Week 1 -- the marquee league opener at which the Super Bowl banner would traditionally be raised.
Rhoden said Brady should be suspended for at least half the season.
"Don't fine him, because he has more money than -- you know, don't fine him, don't make this a financial penalty," he said.
When asked if Rhoden thought Brady was the only quarterback who has manipulated game balls, he said, "No."
"I think it happens, but again we're talking about the premiere quarterback in the National Football League, who I think is probably one of the best of all time," Rhoden said.