Monday Morning Quarterback's Peter King dedicated his weekly article to voice his opinion on the lasting punishment for DeflateGate.
If you hadn't heard about DeflateGate, this is the rundown: a rival of the Patriots filed a complaint to the NFL offices saying that the Patriots were cheating with underinflated footballs in the 2014 AFC Championship game. The league "investigated" this claim by not recording reliable pregame measurement data, to determine if the Patriots were, in fact, cheating.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell initiated an investigation into the Patriots cheating and prevented the Patriots from rectifying any of the misinformation that was spreading. The NFL consistently leaked misleading information from the investigation, mostly due to the fact that they didn't understand the Ideal Gas Law, swaying public opinion.
While the investigation was "inconclusive" by the report's own admittance, Goodell still used it as a reason to hand down a suspension to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, and to strip the Patriots 2016 1st and 2017 4th round picks, and to fine the franchise $1 million.
Goodell then listened to Brady's appeal on the very punishment that Goodell handed down, decided nah, and actually upped the charges of Brady's supposed connection to the scandal.
The whole ordeal is in the US legal systems because Goodell completely botched serious events with Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, so he wanted to show that he was still in control of the NFL. He's not.
Anyways, King agrees that the Patriots should get their picks back because there's literally nothing proving that any misdeed occurred. Literally nothing. Every single reputable scientist on the planet agrees that the Patriots footballs were inflated within the legal limit and there is nothing that connects Brady to anything wrong.
Of course Goodell can't possibly give the Patriots back their draft picks. He's on thin ice with the owners, thanks to his mismanagement of the aforementioned Rice and Peterson incidents, and thanks to his apparent lack of leadership during the Los Angeles move for the Rams, Chargers, and Raiders.
There are owners that think Goodell generates bad press for the league and that they could be making more with someone else in charge (probably). There are other owners that are fine with the current bottom line, but they think that the Patriots have been cheating for years.
If Goodell gives the Patriots back their draft picks, then he's going to have no one in his corner other than Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and that was the origin of this whole kerfuffle; Goodell was tired of people calling him Kraft's lackey.
So, yes, DeflateGate is an entirely manufactured "scandal" rooted in the incompetence of the league and the jealousy of opposing teams and fan bases (Yes, the story gained traction because opposing fans flock to anything that includes "Patriots" and "Cheat" in the title, and that led to media outlets playing into the story. Call it the "Tim Tebow Effect". We have the data. It's true.).
But you're dreaming if you think Goodell will ever give the picks back to the Patriots. Goodell's averaged a salary of nearly $40 million per year between 2013 and 2014, and admitting that he was wrong will lead to him losing his job. And he's not going to go ahead and get himself fired.