The New England Patriots, eight days after an appeals court hearing in the “Deflategate” case that seems to continue forever, lashed back at the National Football League and what the team called the NFL-perpetuated “myths” about the supposed conspiracy led by quarterback Tom Brady to illegally deflate game footballs.
The Patriots again took to their online site entitled The Wells Report In Context, posting an 8,000-word report penned by team attorney Daniel Goldberg in which the team examines what it says are “the dubious bases for the Wells Report,” saying that many such arguments by the NFL “remain unexplored.”
Brady, of course, was suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for four games after NFL attorney Ted Wells completed a report on Deflategate stating that the future Hall of Fame quarterback was “generally aware” of a scheme to deliberately deflate footballs prior to the AFC Championship game on January 18, 2015.
After Brady appealed the suspension at an arbitration hearing at which Goodell himself presided, the NFL — without explanation — upped the ante, not only upholding the suspension but accusing Brady of actively leading the ball-deflation conspiracy. The new Goodell statement also claimed that Brady “destroyed” a cell phone, suggesting that the New England superstar had made a conscious effort to obstruct Wells’ investigation.
A federal judge, Richard Berman, tossed out the suspension last September 3, but the NFL appealed to the United States Second Circuit Court, where a three-judge panel heard oral arguments on March 3.
At that hearing, NFL lawyer Paul Clement repeated a falsehood from Goodell’s earlier statement, mischaracterizing Brady’s testimony during the appeals hearing. In addition, two of the three judges — in particular Judge Denny Chin — shocked observers knowledgeable about Deflategate by stating in court that “the evidence of the ball tampering is compelling, if not overwhelming.”
In fact, numerous scientific studies have shown the ball deflation to be the naturally occurring result of cold weather, as explained in the below video from 60 Minutes Sports.
The Patriots’ new report assails 15 “myths” about the case, offering explanations for each that paint Brady in a far more favorable light.
With his new contract, Brady will save himself almost $2 million if he ends up serving a 4-game suspension pic.twitter.com/4h7B16JYyq
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) March 10, 2016
In a section on “Myth #14,” the Patriots lawyer takes on the NFL assertion that “Tom Brady’s decision not to retain his phone reflects his guilt.”
“Mr. Brady actually provided the League with far more information about his texts than had been provided during the Wells investigation. The League could have gone to others with whom Mr. Brady texted (he provided a complete list) to ascertain the content of any other texts that they were curious about,” the New England lawyer writes in the new report.
“Rather than investigate the list Mr. Brady provided, the League simply created the myth that the phone was ‘destroyed’ because it must have contained evidence of wrongdoing.”
The allegation that Brady somehow “destroyed” his phone as part of a cover-up was central to Goodell’s stated reasons for upholding his own suspension of the Patriots quarterback.
“This inflammatory reliance on the phone’s non-retention reflects the League’s realization that there is simply no evidence that implicates Mr. Brady in any deflation scheme,” Goldberg wrote.
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The new Patriots report also covers “myths” relating to the behavior of two New England employees, Jim McNally and John Jastremski, who were alleged by the NFL to have carried out the illegal ball deflation.
McNally was alleged to have secreted the game balls out of game officials’ locker room at Gillette Stadium before the January 18 game and deflated them in a rest room out of view of stadium security cameras. But in the report, the Patriots document that league officials were aware of McNally’s whereabouts with the balls at all times, and showed no concern or objections.
Read the full New England Patriots new Deflategate document at the Wells Report In Context site by clicking on this link.
[Featured Photo By Steven Senne / Associated Press]