Tag Archives: WFAN

The Truth Revealed, Definitively

I couldn’t resist this comment, which finally puts to rest the entire fabricated “Deflategate” controversy. As I have said almost from the beginning (see my Blogs to that effect), it was a fabricated attack fueled by ignorance and resentment directed at the New England Patriots — but its wider ramifications concern the ability of established forces to use the media to fabricate a reality for ulterior motives. That’s why I long ago linked it to the Bush Adminstration’s fabrication of a case for its criminal invasion of Iraq. With the so-called “Deflategate” controversy, however, we now have a patently clear demonstration that this alternate reality was fabricated. (Will Mike Francesa at WFAN ever apologize for his outrageous behavior in condemning the Patriots from Day One, and in refusing to countenance any alternative comments on his radio program? But I doubt it.)

For the details, see today’s New York Times article by Joe Nocera;

True Scandal of Deflategate Lies in the N.F.L.’s Behavior

BY JOE NOCERA

A scientific consensus that deflation of footballs in the 2015 A.F.C. title game could be explained by physics has not done anything to mitigate the Patriots’ punishment.

Or, copy and paste this URL into your browser: http://nyti.ms/1PbrjC6

Here’s a brief excerpt from that article:

“John Leonard is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who roots for the Philadelphia Eagles, listens to sports talk radio when he is exercising, and teaches a class called Measurement and Instrumentation. When the Deflategate story broke after last year’s A.F.C. championship game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts, he found himself fixated on it, yearning to dig into it from a scientific point of view….

Numbers in hand, (finally,) Leonard went to work. He bought the same gauges the N.F.L. used to measure p.s.i. levels. He bought N.F.L.-quality footballs. He replicated the temperatures of the locker room, and the colder field. And so on. When he was done, he concluded that Exponent (the company hired by the NFL’s investigators) had made a series of basic errors. Leonard’s work showed the exact opposite of Exponent’s conclusions: The drop in the Patriots’ footballs’ p.s.i was consistent with the Ideal Gas Law; the smaller drop in pressure in the Colts’ balls was not. (Leonard surmises that because the Colts’ balls were tested after the Patriots’ balls, they had warmed up again.)

By early November, he had a PowerPoint presentation with more than 140 slides. By the end of the month, he had given two lectures about Deflategate, the second of which he had videotaped and posted on YouTube. A viewer who watched the lengthy lecture edited it down to a crisp 15 minutes; Leonard agreed to let him post the edited version.

The edited lecture went up on YouTube on Dec. 1 and has been viewed more than 17,000 times. It is utterly convincing. Leonard told me that if an M.I.T. undergraduate made the kinds of mistakes that Exponent made, “I would force them to repeat the experiment and correct the analysis.” Based on his study of the data, Leonard now says: “I am convinced that no deflation occurred and that the Patriots are innocent. It never happened.””

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Is “Deflategate” Just a Lot of Hot Air?

Is “Deflategate” Just a Lot of Hot Air?

The more this “deflategate” issue proceeds, the more it looks like another examplee of ideological thinking at work — where a person becomes committed to a set of beliefs for essential emotional reasons, and then will not let it go no matter what the facts are. Rather, the committed ideologue will twist the facts to conform to his/her pre-conceived belief system. It’s just like the Bush Administration and the commitment to remove Saddam Hussein and “liberate” Iraq.

As information trickles out that increasingly places in doubt the initial conclusion of Patriot deception about the under inflated footballs, many of those who were certain of their “guilt” from day one, are now developing a protective rationale — with the WFAN’s “football guru” Mike Francesa in the lead. His current position is: 1) it’s beyond doubt that the Patriots broke the rules; but 2) the NFL has no intention to adequately investigate the issue, and simply wants the issue to go away; therefore, 3) they will produce a vague report with no finding of guilt, some minor procedural modifications for the future, and that will be the end of that. Thus, by Francesa’s reasoning, the Patriots reman convicted of cheating, the NFL of covering it up, and “case closed.”

Francesca’s reasoning — as well as that of the many others following the same path — reminds me of the Medieval approach to trying witches. If someone was accused of being a witch, the trial might involve tying a heavy weight to the person, throwing them in the water, and then seeing if they floated or drowned. If they floated, they were obviously guilty of being a witch, in line with the devil, and were then put to death, often by burning at the stake. If, on the other hand, they drowned, that would attest to their probable innocence. But in either case, they would be dead.

Similarly with Mike Francesa and those who think like him. Convinced of Patriot guilt they have it set up as follows: If the NFL finds the Patriots gulty, then Francesa is vindicated; If the NFL finds that there is no proof of guilt on the Patriots’ part, then the NFL is itself guilty of a coverup. In either case, the Patriots remain condemned and Francesa vindicated. Heads I win, tails you lose. That’s a nice deal if you can get — but there is no honesty and nor any room for an impartial evaluation of the facts. Just a self-justifying rush to judgement and a public lynching.

Deflategate, or the anatomy of a public lynching

Deflategate, or the anatomy of a public lynching

The story of the purported deflation of footballs by the New England Patriots is increasingly looking like an ambiguous fact turned into a fabricated major scandal. Fueled by many who begrudge the Patriots their success, and by a media ever in search of an audience-making scandal, fans across the country have “piled on”, feasting upon unauthorized leaks, ambiguous information, and personal venom to convict the Patriots of systematic cheating, often gloating over the ability to therefore devalue their historical successes.

None have been more egregious in their unqualified promotion of deflategate and in excoriating the Patriots for once again proving to be the cheaters he knows them to be, than the popular sports commentator at WFAN, Mike Francesa. A man who is clearly quite intelligent, and superbly well-informed about professional football, he obviously was convinced of the Patriots guilt from day one. He showed no evident concern about clarifying the facts before reaching a conclusion, making continual reference to unnamed ex-Patriots who attest to the Patriots continual violation of the rules, regular mention of their having been found guilty of Spygate as supporting evidence, arrogant dismissal of all who offered alternative interpretations, including disparaging, and even ridiculing all remarks made by Brady, Belicheck, and Kraft.

An impartial observer might have interpreting Brady’s initial light-hearted dismissal of charges of playing with deflated footballs as an honest surprise at the issue even being raised. And then, one might have interpreted his hesitant performance several days later, after the issue had become a focus of national attention, as an honest expression of his inability to explain what might have happened. And similarly with Belicheck’s press conference. And then, one might have taken seriously the claims presented by Belicheck in his report of the Patriots’s internal investigation. And, even more, such an observer might have reflected that Belicheck would be opening himself to a far more serious attack on his credibility with this press conference if he did not honestly believe that they were not guilty of intentionally deflating the footballs. But, having already convicted the Patriots of cheating, Francesa read each of these events as proof of their obvious guilt, and did not even seriously entertain an alternative interpretation. No thoughtful questions about the effects of weather on air pressure, nor on the effects of differential prior treatment of footballs, nor documentation of the actual condition of the footballs before the game, of their air pressure when “tested” by the referee, nor questions as to whether the referee actually used a guage to measure the pre-game air pressure on all 24 footballs, among other facts that he might reasonably have considered. None need be considered by him, since he already “knew” the truth.

Of course, Mike Francesa was not the only one who seemed more than happy to jump to the conclusion of Patriot guilt. Such people were rampant, among fans and experts, such as Chris Mortenson and Peter King. But as Tom Brady noted, this is not about ISIS, and nobody has been killed, so this, in an important sense, is a tempest in a teapot. Football is after all just a game, not a life and death affair. And the related issue of air pressure is probably not that big a deal, either. And further, scientific. evidence now shows that the weather can have such an effect on air pressure. (As chance would have it, my wife and I just bought a Super Bowl balloon a couple of hours ago for our little Super Bowl party. As soon as we left the store and went out doors and into our car we noticed that the balloon was severely under inflated, and considered returning it. But we were too lazy, and drove away. But as soon as the car warmed up, we saw the balloon re-inflate, and we were even concerned that it might burst.) The really interesting and important aspect of this whole affair, however, is the ease with which the media itself can inflate a controversy, and be used to, and promote, a rush to judgement in the service of often nefarious interests. This is simply a most recent example of the way that a media orchestrated popular stampede can override common sense and a concern for the facts, and rational judgement, as, for example, was the case when the Bush Administration orchestrated its campaign to invade Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein. We are continuing to pay for that disastrous use of the media — of which the creation of ISIS is only the most obvious result — and will no doubt continue to be paying for that imperial manipulation for years to come. As for those in the media who propelled this latest fiasco, such as Mike Francesa, will we see any public acknowledgement of his malfeasance, or will he seek to justify himself by blaming a league cover-up, which, of course, the NFL is quite capable of engaging in.