When you've played in the National Football League for 15 seasons (Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers) and are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, you have a hard time swallowing the fact that probable future members of the brotherhood have been labeled as cheaters. That's what Hall of Famer Chris Doleman is dealing with. He strongly feels that anyone involved in Deflategate needs a harsh punishment.
"If I were the commissioner, I would place a 25-year Hall of Fame ban on [Bill] Belichick, [Tom] Brady and everyone else involved," he said in an interview Thursday with FanBuzz. You cannot honor these players, coaches and even the owner."
As a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Doleman says cheaters have no business being considered one of the greatest to ever play the game. He says he's spoken with multiple Hall of Famers who strongly agree with him, stating they no longer know if potential hall of famers (Belichick, Brady and owner Robert Kraft) will ever make it into the hall.
"Will they ever get in? I don't know. If you called other members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, we aren't happy. We already have one blemish. He's locked up and that's O.J. Simpson. We don't want someone in there who cheated. It's about respecting the game. This is a very big deal. If you're considered one of the best in the game and you're cheating, that's a problem."
"My point is you cheated. We aren't going to allow anyone in who cheated to alter our legacy."
It still hasn't been proven if Belichick or Brady had any involvement with altering the deflated footballs. At their respective press conferences on Thursday, both denied knowledge of how the balls would lose air pressure and didn't even realize that the balls were illegal, but Doleman doesn't believe that. Throughout his career, he said he would know how his cleats and jerseys were prepared and if there was something a bit off with anything, he would know about it.
He also said there's no way Patriots equipment managers could have deflated footballs without Belichick or Brady knowing.
"Why would any equipment manager ever put their families at risk over deflating footballs? I called some equipment managers that I am close with and they all said 'there's no way I would ever get fired for any player or coach."
He said the Patriots already have a culture of cheating. Back in 2007, the Patriots filmed the Jets' sideline and stole signals. When it comes to the football deflation scandal, he said it's most likely not the first time they've done this.
"These guys have played a lot of football games together," he said. "It's safe to make the assumption that it's not the first time this has happened, just the first time they have been caught.
"This is cheating on a very sophisticated level."