Deflategate Protest by Barstool Sports Leads to Arrests at NFL Offices

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2015

@LAKEdwards

What is the cost of a little national publicity? For the folks running the website Barstool Sports, it appears to be their freedom.    

Clad in gear supporting New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, members of the website's staff invaded the NFL's Manhattan office and handcuffed themselves together in a form of protest before being arrested Tuesday. Writer Lisa Kraus Edwards captured a photograph of the NYPD leading the protestors out of the building:

The protest—obviously in part tongue-in-cheek—came a day after the NFL suspended Brady four games, docked the Patriots two draft picks and fined the club $1 million for its part in the Deflategate scandal.  

Originally covered as a group of misbegotten fans with perhaps a little too much time on their hands, Barstool's David Portnoy eventually revealed his site as being behind the sit-in:

The satirical website is known for its New England-leaning style and has been pointed in its criticism of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell since the suspension was announced. It's currently selling T-shirts calling for Brady's "freedom" in addition to organizing the protest.

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Kraus Edwards reported the participants will be held in jail overnight, though there is no word on the formal charges at this time. 

Mike Grinnell of ESPN weighed in on the stunt:

Brady plans to appeal the suspension, Don Yee, his agent, confirmed to Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports.

"The discipline is ridiculous and has no legitimate basis," Yee said. "In my opinion, this outcome was pre-determined; there was no fairness in the Wells investigation whatsoever. There is no evidence that Tom directed footballs be set at pressures below the allowable limits."

The NFL's independent report, spearheaded by Ted Wells, found it was "more probable than not" that Brady was involved in a plot to have game balls doctored below the league's standard PSI requirements. Patriots staffers Jim McNally and John Jastremski, who appeared in charge of the day-to-day operations, were also suspended indefinitely on Monday.

No word on when (or if) the #FreeJastremski or #FreeMcNally rallies will take place. 

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter.