By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Between Peyton Manning and now Carson Palmer, the NFL Quarterback Club just isn’t as tight-knit as it used to be.
Palmer, the veteran quarterback who will go up against the Tom Brady-less Patriots on Sunday night to start the season, was asked Wednesday for his thoughts on the DeflateGate suspension currently being served by Brady.
Palmer claimed to not have followed the saga closely, but still seemed to insinuate that his fellow QB Club member was guilty as charged.
“I tried not to follow it, just because it was everywhere for so long. But I go back, and you follow what the rulebook says and you go about your business and your work, and if they tell you not to do it, and then you get busted, and what happens happens, then you suffer the consequences,” Palmer said on a conference call with New England media, per Zack Cox of NESN. “I’m sure you guys look at it a lot differently, but I know a lot of players around the league, just looking at it, I don’t know if you can feel too strongly one way or another.”
He may claim to not feel strongly one way or another, but the language was pretty clear: You get busted, you pay the price.
When pressed to explain where the guilt could be found, Palmer displayed the scientific awareness of Mike Kensil and Troy Vincent combined.
“Supposedly the balls went somewhere when they weren’t supposed to go there. There was humidity, not enough humidity, altitude — whatever it was, I don’t know. I didn’t follow the story,” Palmer stated. “As soon as it came on, I just turned it off, because I was so sick of hearing about it.”
Despite not following it, Palmer said the letter of the law is simple: Submit to Roger Goodell and the NFL, no matter what.
“Whatever the league comes down upon, and whatever ruling they make, is what they make. You don’t have much of a decision after that,” Palmer said. “You can fight it for a little bit, but after a while you’ve just got to abide by what they say.”
In many ways, Palmer is like 99 percent of the public, in that there was enough smoke to be fully convinced of fire. He’s also like the majority of folks for being convinced of the facts of the case despite admitting to not following it at all.
Whether you love or hate the Patriots or Brady or Bill Belichick, the fact remains that despite the circumstantial evidence, experts have provided more reason to believe nothing happened than the NFL has provided reason to believe something nefarious did happen. That part is undisputed. Nobody except the involved parties knows exactly what did or didn’t take place that night in Gillette Stadium, but the NFL won in the court of public opinion long before Brady ever got to present a case.
Alas, that doesn’t really matter now. Brady is suspended. Palmer is correct: After a while, you’ve just got to abide by what the NFL says.
And so, for now, Tom will add yet another name — a fellow Californian QB at that — to a long, long list of folks that will not be receiving any free samples of TB12 trail mix any time soon.
And if an impromptu Zubaz photoshoot for NFL quarterbacks breaks out, you can bet Tom will be skipping the session.