The New England Patriots are facing some troubling rumors — Tom Brady could be sitting out the entire season from the fallout of Deflategate.
This week, the NFL released the results of the extensive report on the Patriots alleged cheating in the AFC Championship Game. The report, compiled by noted lawyer Ted Wells, determined that Brady likely knew about the team’s efforts to deflate balls and may have even directed it.
While the NFL has yet to announce any punishment for Tom Brady or the Patriots, some rumors indicate that the quarterback could be hit with a one-year ban.
“It would be wrong to dismiss such an extended and seemingly improbable length of time as the ceiling for discipline,” a league source told the Miami Herald on Wednesday.
“Everything is being considered,” the source added.
The report found that Patriots equipment employees Jim McNally and John Jastremski participated in a “deliberate plan to circumvent the rules” and are likely to be punished as well.
For now, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is leaving it up to Troy Vincent — a former Patriots player under Bill Belichick — to determine discipline.
“As with other recent matters involving violations of competitive rules, Troy Vincent and his team will consider what steps to take in light of the report, both with respect to possible disciplinary action and to any changes in protocols that are necessary to avoid future incidents of this type,” Goodell said. “At the same time, we will continue our efforts vigorously to protect the integrity of the game and promote fair play at all times.”
Some are speculating that Tom Brady could be suspended not as much for his participation — which was not proven with hard evidence but instead through circumstantial text messages and interviews — but for his refusal to work with the NFL on the matter.
Brady made himself available only for one interview and refused to hand over his cell phone for the league to investigate his text messages, even after the league offered Brady’s lawyer the chance to vet messages to make sure nothing unrelated to the investigation was seen. The league also believed Tom Brady was lying when he claimed not to have known McNally.
As Goodell has proven in the past, he is not afraid to mete out tough discipline and is especially hard on those who lie to him and the league. Last year, Goodell made an example out of Ravens running back Ray Rice, who was initially given a two-game suspension for punching his fiance. However, the ban was extended when new evidence showed Rice wasn’t truthful to Goodell about how the incident played out.
It’s unclear just when the NFL could announce punishment against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, but it seems clear the rumors will only continue to build until an official announcement is made.
[Image via Getty Images/Elsa]