BOSTON (CBS) — One of the most prominent national voices that has been very critical of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell throughout the DeflateGate saga, Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel joined Zolak & Bertrand on Friday afternoon.
Wetzel said that the public release of the Tom Brady appeal hearing was damning for Goodell and the NFL, because it exposed the league behaving in a way that nobody really would think possible.
“It’s just an egregious thing to do,” Wetzel said of Goodell’s public mischaracterization of Brady’s under-oath testimony. “The commissioner directly mischaracterizes Brady’s under-oath testimony that he said directly to commissioner Goodell’s face and in the process makes him look more guilty than he was. To me, that kind of conduct is far more egregious, far more concerning if you’re an NFL fan, than whether or not someone deflated a football at all. You just cannot even imagine that that’s how it would go down. If this were a legal case, it would be overturned immediately. The judge would be in trouble. You just can’t do that.”
The takeaway from that move by Goodell is clear.
“So what’s the point of even talking to Goodell, if Goodell is just going to change your story?” Wetzel said.
What’s worse is that if not for the public release of the transcript, nobody would ever know.
“It’s such a tough document for the NFL, and so that’s why it stood out to me,” Wetzel said. “It’s just purposeful, ‘we’re going to make him [look] more guilty than we can come up with.'”
We also saw Goodell at times looking lost as the arbitrator of the hearing, often asking questions seemingly only to remind everyone else that he was still in the room.
“Absolutely. I didn’t think Goodell looked [good], his questions were generally pointless. He was asking about have you ever walked through the stadium on a Saturday and then seemed surprised that Brady had. What’s the point of that?” Wetzel said. “Goodell seems intellectually not up to par on this. Obviously Troy Vincent isn’t.”
Wetzel said the transcript release should empower Brady to continue to fight for a complete exoneration.
“I think at this point, after this transcript comes out, I wouldn’t settle if I’m Tom Brady,” Wetzel said. “[I’d think] they have nothing new on me. When they can’t make media leaks and they can’t spin the story against me, nothing comes out that makes me look worse. Everything that comes out makes the NFL look worse.”
Wetzel added: “His case not ideal … but his side gets stronger the further we go.”
On the whole, Wetzel said a smart commissioner would have realized that he didn’t have complete evidence or even basic understanding of the situation back in January and nipped it right in the bud.
“Why build this up?” Wetzel said. “Imagine if somehow it comes out that LeBron James’ sneaker was over some obscure limit that they have in the NBA, and he was using an unfair sneaker in the finals. Will Adam Silver brush that aside and say ‘get a new sneaker,’ or is he going to suspend LeBron for 22 games next year?”
Listen to the full interview below: