Friday, May 08, 2015

Anonymous accusations and deflategate

QA law professor writes in the Wash. Post:
The recent media obsession with “free range” parenting has illuminated a policy issue which rarely affects parents who debate free range parenting: the exploitation of child abuse reporting hotlines.

Each year, about 3.4 million calls are made to these state-run phone lines. Tragically, only a fraction of these calls are made by trained professionals reporting actual abuse or neglect. The others are made, often anonymously, by people who don’t know what constitutes abuse (or, more nefariously, by those who want to punish the parent). But because child protective service agencies are required to act, these calls can result in innocent parents losing their kids, tangling families in a complicated system.

The anonymous reporting was a terrible idea. Even worse, our society has become one to convict people on the flimsiest of evidence. Here is the latest example, from pro football:
The Deflategate report is out! And it’s not even 5 p.m. on the Friday before Memorial Day!

Read it here.

Anyway, the gist of the report is that the NFL’s investigation, spearheaded by attorney Ted Wells, found that “it is more probable than not” that two Patriots equipment managers — Jim McNally, the attendant for the officials’ locker room at Gillette Stadium, and John Jastremski, a team equipment assistant — “participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots game balls after the balls were tested by the game officials” during the AFC championship game in January.

The report also found that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady “was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of McNally and Jastremski involving the release of air from Patriots game balls.”

The NFL’s findings hinge on incriminating text messages sent between McNally and Jastremski. And boy, are they incriminating. And hilarious. ...

What seems to be something of a smoking gun, when McNally calls himself “the deflator” and mentions taking the story to ESPN, came on May 9, 2014, before the start of the season.
Got that? They spent months investigating, and wrote a 243-page report, and all they can say is that there is a 51% a couple of low-level equipment managers did something improper? And maybe Brady had some awareness? And the smoking gun is the word "deflator" in a message a year ago?!

The balls are supposed to be between 12.5 and 13.5 psi. Brady prefers them closer to 12.5 while others prefer higher inflation.

I am surprised that the NFL wants to make an issue out of this, when (1) the air pressure had no effect on the game, (2) its own official screwed up by not testing the balls, (3) the game has been over for months, and (4) it only has a 51% case of wrongdoing by low-level employees.

There is no reason for anyone to care about this. I just point out how our twisted society wants to make these reckless accusations against people.

Another sports superstar who has been accused of being a cheater is Barry Bonds. But after 12 years of federal felony prosecutions, he now stands acquitted of all the charges. I think that the feds just did not like him breaking Babe Ruth's records.

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