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Deflategate ends with a TKO

  Tom Brady lands butter side up in Deflategate. Photograph by Jeffrey Beall.

Tom Brady lands butter side up in Deflategate. Photograph by Jeffrey Beall.

A New York judge has overturned the NFL’s suspension of Tom Brady in effect on a technicality, saying the process that led to the suspension was flawed.

Is it any wonder? In the NFL, the process is almost always flawed, because commish Roger Goodell is no Alexander when it comes to leadership.

But just because something is legal doesn’t make it ethical or moral. Innocent people don’t destroy cell phone evidence as Brady did right before pertinent texts were requested. Innocent people don’t pay a $1 million fine and accept the loss of draft picks, as Brady’s boss, New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft, did earlier when the NFL-commission report concluded that it was “more probable than not”  that two Patriots’ employees deflated the team’s game balls before their romp over the Indianapolis Colts on the way to the Super Bowl championship. (And let’s be clear: The balls weren’t a little soft. They looked like Truckasaurus had run over them at Madison Square Garden, backed up and rolled over them again.)

Brady emerged from court with the smirk of a perp who’s walked. It was also the smug smile of a man who’s coasted all through life on talent, looks and charm.

That he has as much sportsmanship has yet to be determined, for it’s hard to believe that two low-level employees would deflate footballs without a directive from the man who stood to gain most from throwing those footballs. Better to fail without gimmicks than to win with sleight-of-hand.

In any event, nobody’s lucky forever as Mal Ryan, the self-absorbed quarterback who’s part of two triangles in my forthcoming novel “The Penalty for Holding,” soon discovers. And opposing teams – immune to the charms of golden boys – have long memories. “They” say you can run but you can’t hide.

At his age, Brady can do neither.