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Browns GM Ray Farmer Referenced in Final Decision of Tom Brady's Appeal Hearing

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld his decision in the appeal hearing of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. His four-game suspension stays in tact, but I'm sure the battle has only just begun. In Goodell's 20-page assessment of the appeal, Cleveland Browns general manager Ray Farmer was brought up in regards to the length of the suspension for first-time offenders to the integrity of the game:

The four-game suspension imposed on Mr. Brady is fully consistent with, if not more lenient than, the discipline ordinarily imposed for the most comparable effort by a player to secure an improper competitive advantage to cover up the underlying violation.17

The footnote then addressed Farmer:

17The four-game suspension is also consistent with the suspension recently imposed on the General Manager of the Cleveland Browns for a first violation of a league rule intended to maintain fair competition and the integrity of the game. The length of the suspension reflected and was explicitly mitigated by, the General Manager's self-reporting and transparency in acknowledging wrongdoing. There are no such mitigating factors here.

To me, it sounds like Goodell is saying that Brady is fortunate to have not been fully cooperative (destroying his cell phone), yet still receive the same, reduced type of punishment than Farmer, who was fully cooperative, received. Had Brady turned over his phone records, his suspension might have been reduced.