Tom Brady is looking back at the football deflating controversy that led to his suspension as a positive experience.
Brady, the New England Patriots quarterback, spoke to media tycoon Oprah Winfrey about the matter on her OWN network series SuperSoul Sunday yesterday. During the interview, he spoke about football, spirituality, and everything in between.
When the topic of deflategate was brought up, Brady opened up about the experience that led to his suspension in 2015 and caused sports pundits to vilify him for months. He used the time away from the NFL field to spend quality time with his family.
“The first thing I did, my wife and I and our kids, we flew out to see my parents. My mom was just starting treatment for cancer and I said ‘We’re going golfing and we’re going to go to Pebble Beach,'” Brady told Winfrey. “We never went on a honeymoon, my wife and I, so we said, ‘Look, we’re going to go to Italy in September.’ So I said, ‘Man, that was the best month off I think I’ve ever had.'”
Deflategate is a term used to describe the controversy that took place when the Patriots were accused of illegally using under-inflated footballs in the 2014-2015 AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts.
An official investigation was launched which resulted in a 243-page report called the “Wells Report.” Ted Wells was the lead author and criminal attorney involved in the creation of the report and revealed that text messages between then-Patriots locker room attendant Jim McNally and equipment assistant John Jastremski pointed to the illegal under-inflated footballs.
The Patriots went on to win Super Bowl XLIX that year and Brady was named MVP. However, he was later suspended at the beginning of the 2015 season after reports said Brady was “at least generally aware” of rule violations taking place.
While Brady chose to make the best of his time off, he did admit to having some initial anxiety about the situation while trying to fight his suspension. The QB said he was tired of having constant conversations with the Player’s Association, and he later realized it was best to embrace his time off.
“I realized I couldn’t win and it was divided attention. I was tired of that,” he told Winfrey. “I just said ‘You know what, I’m going to use this as an opportunity to… I had the month of September off for the first time in 21 years, and I’m going to take advantage of this.'”