The Patriots Strike Back The New England Patriots have responded to the fines and punishments levied against them by Roger Goodell and the NFL by putting up a web page that refutes point by point the extremely thin case against them made by the NFL. (http://wellsreportcontext.com ) Their counter argument is as precise and coldly efficient as a Tom Brady led offense, so much so that it completely destroys the accusations against the team and Tom Brady and in fact exposes the NFL viewpoint to be laughable and possibly conspiratorial against the team. None of that may matter however. As we have seen with other highly publicized media cases of the last few years the desired narrative is defended even when it has been completely discredited. For example there are near majorities of Americans that still think Michael Brown had his hands up and was gunned down by a rouge cop or that Trayvon Martin was an innocent kid gunned down by a racist white vigilante. Polls have showed similar support for the NFL and against the Patriots at this point in the controversy. In the case of the NFL it has used innuendo and out of context remarks (cell phone texts) and has misrepresented facts and evidence while ignoring obvious counter evidence. Clearly the NFL wanted the Patriots guilty, did everything in their power to create a situation where they felt they could plausibly make a case that the Patriots had done something wrong, and fabricated a case with the help of their house attorney and legal firm. The NFL may have underestimated the extent to which the Patriots would roll over on the issue. Or they might have figured they could press the issue through with their near complete control over the sports media, especially the organization that is the modern sports equivalent of the Soviet era controlled press: ESPN. Also they may not care. As long as the issue remains a popular news item they will profit from more free media exposure. The NFL has tried to use some pieces of evidence to create a case of wrong doing on the part of the Patriots and Tom Brady. Their most compelling items were some texts in which the equipment handler for the Patriots referred to himself as a â€œDeflatorâ€ which turns out was a reference to his losing weight. Those texts were also sent in October, months before the incident in question. They have also used Tom Bradyâ€™s refusal to hand over his cell phone text records as an admission of guilt. Forget that American justice has always included a right to privacy, that idea is so 20[SUP]th[/SUP] century. The Patriots rightly point out that the NFL has ALL of the texts from the two equipment personnel in question, so there is nothing else to be gleaned from Bradyâ€™s phone. Other items have been ignored or plainly misinterpreted by the NFL and its hand picked special investigation hit squad. An accusation that the ball handler for the Patriots snuck the balls away before the game is visibly refuted by security video showing the ball handler carrying sacks of balls past NFL officials at the start of the game. The plain science of the evidence is ignored. So called low inflated balls were only low on one of the gauges used to measure the balls, no mention is made of the gauge that measured some of them within specifications. Measurements made at halftime of those balls used in winter cold fail to point out that temperature change can be responsible for a drop of several PSI from the balls measured in the warmth of the pre-game locker room. Thus balls at the lowest end of the spectrum will certainly be below spec at halftime of a game in January in New England. Probably every ball ever used in an NFL game would have measured below spec after use in cold weather. In a similar situation a couple of years ago in a game between Minnesota and Carolina it was discovered the teams were putting the balls by the heaters during the game to keep them warm. The league told them to stop because it was a violation, but of course no attention was paid to this incident and no league action or media scrutiny followed. Perhaps what the whole Deflategate controversy illustrates is that in the world of modern media what is most important is media attention. Deflategate is more important as â€œclickbaitâ€. Clickbait is the desire of a media group to get people to click on particular stories so that they can increase the number of visitors to their websites. In the old days there were Neilson ratings or numbers of papers sold that told perspective customers how popular a media entity was. In the internet age the only measurement of popularity is of how many times surfers click on a link. Lots of clicks can be presented to advertisers as a measure of the amount of viewership of a website. However in the internet age there are many distractions, the competition is not just a few network stations, a couple of local papers, or a few national magazines. The competition is literally millions of other websites, all of them vying for attention by putting out the most controversial information possible. The most successful formula appears to be for the media to take a viewpoint that is almost completely irrational, so much so that a significant amount of the population is so angered that the media would support such a viewpoint that they click on the site to see for themselves if such a thing is true. And media attention converts a good amount of the population to support the irrational view either out of ignorance or a willful dislike of the target of the irrationality. Thus those fans that feel the whole Deflategate issue is either silly and of little importance to the actual game or a staged farce, are set against a sizable part of the games followers that have a deep seated dislike of the Patriots and Tom Brady. Emotional investment rises as one side sees the issue as an illogical attack on a successful opponent and the other sees it as a chance to get back at a team they root against. Racial matters figure importantly on the side of those that take the leagues side in this phony controversy as the blatant whiteness of the Patriots makes them an instinctive target of hate, much in the way Duke basketball was hated back in their days of majority white teams. Eventually though a decision has to be made so that the whole farcical morality play can be finished and the media can move to a fresh controversy that will generate more clicks. In this situation the whole ridiculous case will be appealed to none other then the very party that is responsible for the incident in the first place, Roger Goodell. That decision is sure to create more controversy and ultimately more clicks.