By Jen Fortman, For The Miami Student

Autumn is on its way, and as leaves change colors and temperatures begin to drop, a new football season arrives. Of course, a new football season brings new headlines. And New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is the star of those headlines.

As most already know, Brady was accused of deflating the footballs used in the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts. As a result, Brady was sentenced to a four-game suspension. However, Judge Richard M. Berman of Federal District Court in Manhattan threw out the case and reversed the suspension on September 3. Brady will now start in the first game of the 2015-16 season.

But why should Brady be allowed to play? Cheating is cheating no matter what.

Deflating the football is cheating. The team should be penalized for it.

Deflategate is not the first time New England has been accused of disregarding the rules. There have been numerous allegations against the Patriots’ taping of opponents’ sideline signals.

However, many are standing up for Brady and his team. I’m a strong believer in the phrase “once a cheater, always a cheater.” So if they cheated once, then what’s stopping them from doing it again? Especially if they aren’t penalized for it.

Several players are actually taking the side of the Patriots. In a recent interview with CNN, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman defended Brady and the Patriots’ most current Super Bowl championship.

“They still have to intercept the ball. They still have to execute,” Sherman said. “Eleven guys have to execute at the same time. And that’s what they did, so give them credit. If there’s hanky-panky going on, they’ve gotten away with it.”

An argument I’ve heard more than once is there are men in the NFL with rape cases and assault charges, so cheating isn’t a big deal. But that’s irrelevant. The Patriots violated the rules and should not have gotten off so easily.

It is unfair that liars and cheaters have the ability to call themselves Super Bowl Champions. It’s unfair to other athletes and teams in the league. It sets a bad example for teams of all sports and the future generations of athletes everywhere.

Tom Brady’s non-punishment shows younger generations that it’s OK to cheat because you probably won’t get in trouble. Athletes must set a positive example for kids and be a role model. A cheater is not a role model.

Work harder than your opponent to win – that’s the example athletes should set. Not deflating the balls so they’re easier to throw and catch. Not recording opponent sideline signals and stealing their plays.

There is much pressure on professional athletes to succeed and do everything right. Work hard and play fair, and things will go your way.

Cheating is immoral and unnecessary and should be punished. It is wrong to reverse Tom Brady’s suspension. If you cheat, you pay the consequences – it’s as simple as that.

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