I think the NFL has a proven track record of downright incompetence when it comes to meting out punishments. So is this punishment fair, based on the rules and the agreement between the league and the players union? I thought somebody posted that the punishment for the football inflation thing is $25,000. So where did the four games come from? Is he getting four games because he wouldn't let Ted Wells rifle through his phone? There's no way that stands up to an appeal with an independent arbitrator. I'd not be the least bit surprised if Brady doesn't miss a single game and the NFL office winds up with (more) egg on their face.
I agree with all of this. I never said the punishment is fair. In fact, a few days ago I thought it would be a one game suspension and a franchise token fine with a mid-round draft pick thrown in. I still think that is pretty close to where it all ends up. Which might actually be the NFL's goal.
What got me started was all these comments about rights and burden of proof like it was some kind of criminal case. It simply isn't. If you think that way, you are going about it all wrong. This is 100% a workplace issue and it will be decided and defined by the contract between the NFL and the Players Union. Anyone who thinks that there is some higher standard that needs to be met, or some kind of rights issue, is on a high horse without understanding anything about how the world works.
Why is the NFL, the NCAA, and any other organization without subpoena power so inept at these kinds of cases? Because it is impossible to compel release of the information needed. Since there is no way on God's Green Earth a non-governmental agency should have those powers, these organizations are simply stuck doing the best they can with incomplete information and, sometimes, incompetent investigation.
Unfortunately, you still have to enforce the rules.
As for the often talked about $25K that people love to throw around on the internet, they are simply wrong. That is the MINIMUM penalty for under inflation, not the maximum. See this story, about 1/2 way down and a host of other credible news stories instead of internet board postings and comments sections:http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2015/01/21/onfoot/x9cDtrfMPAO15Stwm4uXrN/story.html