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Tom Brady and the fatal flaw of hubris

Tom Brady has lost home-field advantage.

The NFL Players Association had sought to have a union-friendly Minnesota court hear its suit against the NFL over its four-game suspension of Brady. But Judge Richard H. Kyle said, Not so fast. Where’s the jurisdiction?

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  Tom Brady  in a September 2014 game against the Minnesota Vikings. Photograph by Andrew Campbel.

Tom Brady  in a September 2014 game against the Minnesota Vikings. Photograph by Andrew Campbel.

Uh, precisely. Deflategate took place in Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. The NFL is headquartered in Manhattan and the union, in Washington D.C. This is an I-95 corridor issue.

As it was, the judge kicked it back to New York where the NFL filed its own suit to validate commish Roger Goodell’s right to suspend Brady. So the NFLPA lost whatever chance it had to have its case for an injunction heard in a receptive venue. The thinking was that Adrian Peterson’s case – he was suspended for taking a switch to his 4-year-old – was overturned in Minnesota. So why not go there? But Peterson plays for the – pause for effect – Minnesota Vikings. And anyway, his case turned not on his being disciplined by the NFL but on his being disciplined twice for the same thing.

Jeez, how desperate is the Brady Bunch? With each action, they look more and more guilty. All Brady had to do was say to Goodell, “You know what? I prefer my balls to be on the soft side, you know, like soft-boiled eggs. Some like ’em hard. I like ’em soft. But we went too far. It was an oversight for which I take full responsibility.”

He would’ve probably walked away with a fine, and he would’ve looked like a leader among men. Leadership isn’t about making no mistakes. It’s about owning the mistakes. By now, even American Pharoah – who’s running Sunday in the Haskell and, by the way, good luck, AP – understands that this is how Brady should’ve handled the situation. But he and his people can’t even do the wrong thing right.

Why, when they have so much? Hubris, the fatal flaw in ancient Greek drama. Our inability to embrace our failings – to see ourselves as others see us – has led in literature and in life to madness and death. It leads to the very loss of face we seek to avoid.

Now Brady has opened a whole can of worms for himself in federal court, where words like “subpoena,” “obstruction of justice” and “contempt of court” can apply.

It’s not going to end well for him.