The attention of most of New England this week is on a New York courtroom, as football fans — and those who felt they need to be just for this — wait for the outcome of this VERY IMPORTANT PROCEEDING.

Sorry if it’s all caps, but it’s that important. So important that if you’re, say, a Martian just visiting for a while, you may be the only one who needs to be told that it even has its own name: Deflategate.

What are they waiting to find out, my favorite Martian? We are all riveted to our TVs, smartphones and tablet screens waiting to find out if Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for helping conspire to deflate footballs, which would help him win a football game, was upheld.

Yes, Martian, you’re right. It does sound silly. But I’ll try to explain it to you so you know why it’s actually very important and not silly at all.

This grown man who gets millions of dollars for playing a game may have known that sycophantic helpers were deflating the footballs he uses so the balls would be more to his liking. Yes, it’s true that the league that governs him and the balls has very strict rules about how inflated the balls should be, but he is a very special person with superhero delicate sensibilities, so those rules really don’t apply to him. I mean, if he broke them. Which he says he didn’t, and he wouldn’t lie. Because, um, again: hero.

This alleged deflation may have helped him win a very important football game.


He and his coach have denied they did it, but apparently their word isn’t good enough, and a report that a lot of money and time went into says maybe they did know and covered up the crime. Their big boss believed the report and suspended Brady from his job — which is playing football — for four games.

So people are very, very upset. I’m sure you understand, Martian.

What, you don’t? Let me try to explain it again.

A grown man who gets millions and millions of dollars to play a game that rakes in billions and billions for the men who own the teams is being accused of conspiring to deflate balls so he would win, thereby earning even more love, glory and millions.

I’m not sure what you don’t understand, Martian. Let me try again.

This game makes billions not only for this handful of men who own the team and run the league, but TV networks, advertisers, corporations and all those other things that make America great. It puts millions of people into a babbling coma for half the year. In fact, they are so under its thrall that they spend money they wouldn’t spend on, say, local schools or a new police station to support these rich men and corporations.


What do they spend the money on?

Well, gosh. Giant TVs, monthly three-figure cable bills, snacks and drinks and, of course, the obligatory jersey with their hero’s name on it that they wear just so they can feel that they’re a little more like him.

Those jerseys run in three figures, too. But the money from them goes to soup kitchens and helping your local teachers stock their classrooms.


Ha ha. Martian, you are so gullible. That money for those jerseys actually goes to the big corporations that control American sports. The National Football League, Nike, places like that. And hey, don’t try to put that Patriots logo on stuff yourself, Martian, because they’ll sue your butt off.

No, Martian. School and soup kitchen issues don’t have their own names. Schoolgate? I’m not sure why that would spark anyone’s interest.


What’s that you say? Last time you were here on Earth, the NFL was talking about head injuries and the league’s problem with guys who committed violent crimes like domestic assault and murder?

Nah, don’t worry about that stuff. It’s last year’s news. Head injury-gate? Domestic assault-gate? You obviously ARE from another planet, my friend.

We are much, much more concerned that our hero who’s accused of deflating footballs — the nerve of people to accuse him of that! — is going to miss four games. Which means that our team will have to have some lesser guy — gosh, I don’t even know his name because he’s so much lesser — play quarterback.

That means our team may not win, and we’ll all be lesser human beings for it.

Hey, Martian. I see you’ve lost interest in this very important topic — so important I really can’t bear to talk about much of anything else, and it’s been that way for months now — and you’re reading the paper.

So that other story has caught your eye? The one about the former Nokomis High School teacher who is accused of months of domestic violence against his then-girlfriend, at one time allegedly strangling her so violently that she vomited?


Oh, you’re done with that story and reading the one about three different people in Waldo County over the weekend accused of a variety of domestic violence charges against loved ones?

That’s all very sad, but I’m not sure what it has to do with Deflategate.

I see now you’re reading about the town of Oakland’s police station. It’s full of mold, too small and has no access for people with disabilities. It’s been called a public safety hazard by town officials, who’ve been struggling for years to find a replacement. But it’s just so darn expensive. It may even mean a little bit of a hike in taxes. No, not nearly as much as your monthly cable bill, if you had one, Martian, but still.

No, wait, now you’re reading the one about how the town of Jay has to raise its tax rate because the mill that’s provided the town’s sustenance for so long is cutting back. Unfortunately, those cutbacks also mean that 300 people are going to lose their jobs.

Going to be tough to pay those higher taxes on an unemployment check.

You know what it reminds me of, Martian? If Tom Brady is suspended for four games, the money he’ll lose. That suspension is without pay, you know. And he has kids, too. And a wife to support. And at least a couple houses.


So he and those Jay mill people are pretty much in the same boat.

Hey, Martian, can you move over a couple inches? I can’t see the TV and I’m watching ESPN 24 hours a day to find out all I can about Deflategate.

Oh man, it makes me so mad that I just spilled my supersize Budweiser all over my Tom Brady jersey.

Maureen Milliken is news editor of the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal. Email her at Twitter: mmilliken47. Kennebec Tales is published the first and third Thursday of the month. For previous Kennebec Tales, go to

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