(USA Today) – With the ink barely dry on its federal appeal to reinstate Tom Brady’s suspension for “more probabl(y) than not” being “generally aware” of footballs being purposely deflated, the NFL revealed last week that the marquee quarterback’s jersey is the top seller this season. Apparently, a significant share of the fan base believes Brady is innocent, or at least was treated unjustly.
Meanwhile, the attention has shifted to more important debates over the suitability of talented but troubled players when they are implicated in actual crimes and misdemeanors. In early August, for example, the San Francisco 49ers released Aldon Smith, an accomplished pass rusher with a long history of lawbreaking, immediately after his latest arrest for hit and run, DUI and vandalism. Smith’s free agency didn’t last long, however, before the Oakland Raiders seized the opportunity, signing the linebacker to a contract worth as much as $8 million.
“Aldon is an extremely talented young player,” noted Jack Del Rio, Oakland head coach. “We welcome him to the Raiders family and expect him to bring his best every day and be a great teammate.”
“I’m just excited to be (part of) an organization who looks out for their players,” Smith said after his first game as a Raider, calling it “a fresh start.”