A recent survey by ESPN has found that most NFL players believe the Patriots did deflate footballs in the AFC Championship game, but they also feel Tom Brady’s suspension for his involvement in Deflategate is too harsh.
The survey of 13 questions was conducted by ESPN's NFL Nation reporters and ESPN The Magazine contributors as they polled over 100 players and discovered a similar response.
72 per cent of players believe the Patriots deflated footballs, 84 per cent aren’t upset with the AFC East team, and 58 percent said they do not consider the Super Bowl XLIX winners cheaters.
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When they were asked if they think other teams tamper with balls, 68 per cent said yes. In terms of cheating on the field, 55 per cent said holding is the most common form of on-field cheating.
Most players also thought Brady’s punishment was harsh, and they felt a suspension of four games should have only been one or two. Only 19 per cent thought the four-game suspension was the correct call, and three per cent felt he should have been suspended for longer.
Despite his absence at the start of the season as well, 85 per cent of players surveyed still believe that the Patriots will still make the playoffs this season.
In terms of player discipline, when players were asked ‘Should player discipline be decided by Roger Goodell?’ unsurprisingly, 88 per cent said no.
What this survey shows is despite everything that happened, players still have a lot of respect towards Brady and the Patriots, but they are still uneasy about the amount of cheating that is happening on the field and off it.
Brady and Goodell had their first court appearance today in New York about Deflategate. Both sides will return to court next week on August 19.
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