Four fans decked out in New England Patriots gear handcuffed themselves together in the lobby of the NFL offices in New York on Tuesday as part of what appears to be a publicity stunt for the sports web site Barstool Sports.
The four were arrested and removed from NFL headquarters after staging the protest against the NFL’s four-game suspension of Tom Brady and sanctions against the New England Patriots in the deflategate scandal.
“We’re for the integrity of the league,” said one sarcastic protester, ridiculing the league’s justification of its punishment over the Patriots’ likely intentional under-inflation of footballs in January’s AFC Championship game.
The group, which was carrying signs and marching outside the league office before entering and locking themselves up, were harshly critical of league commissioner Roger Goodell.
“He’s a liar and this is how dictators start,” said one. “Somebody has to stand up to him, somebody does.”
One referred to last year’s initial two-game suspension of Ray Rice in his domestic violence case, suggesting that the league should have clearly known how badly Rice had assaulted his then fiancée Janay Palmer without having to have seen video tape of it. The league only increased its punishment of Rice once the video recording of the incident was leaked. The fan used the legal language of attorney Ted Wells’ deflategate report for the NFL that it was “more probable than not” that Brady knew about the tampering, saying “How can it be more probable than not that Ray Rice didn’t knock his wife out in the elevator?”
While the response to the deflategate punishment has been fairly inane and over-the top, including this idiotic spat between radio host Mike Francesa and a caller over whether there was any wrongdoing, the Barstool stunt—which was recorded live on streaming app Periscope—has to be one of the silliest and most entertaining.