Tom Brady Blasts Charges He Destroyed His Cell Phone As NFL ‘Deflatage’ Rages
The battle between New England Patriot’s quarterback Tom Brady and the National Football League (NFL) over deflated footballs continues, with both sides digging in on their positions. Did Brady violate football’s integrity by tampering with the inflation of footballs before a championship game? Did he go even further and destroy evidence of his actions sought by investigators by destroying his cell phone?
The saga, termed by some as “Deflatage,” rages.
NFL Holds Firm; Brady Fires Back
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell ruled Tuesday that Brady’s 4-game suspension stands and said that Brady told his attorney to destroy his cell phone.
Brady didn’t hesitate to deny there was any attempted coverup.
The scandal began following allegations that Patriots equipment attendants deflated footballs before Brady led the Patriots to a victory over the Indianapolis Colts in the American Football Conference Championship game in January. The NFL suspended Brady for four games and Brady appealed this suspension. The NFL Players Association voted Tuesday to appeal the NFL’s decision in federal court, according to The Boston Globe.
In a 200-page report, investigator Ted Wells said Brady failed to cooperate with the investigation by refusing to share text messages and emails. In a document titled “The Wells Report,” the Patriots contended that Brady didn’t supply his texts to the NFL because the league already had them.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter said Tuesday the league does not appear inclined to budge on the ruling as settlement talks continue.
Also read: Exposing fragility in mobile phone
Brady Responds On Facebook
After ESPN reported the NFL’s decision Tuesday, Brady firmly denied breaking the phone in a Facebook statement.
He expressed his disappointment and denied any wrongdoing by himself or the Patriots. He said he replaced his broken Samsung phone with a new iPhone 6 after his attorneys made it clear to the NFL that the phone would not be subjected to investigation under any circumstances.
As a member of a union, I was under no obligation to set a new precedent going forward nor was I made aware at any time during Mr. Wells investigation, that failing to subject my cell phone to investigation would result in ANY discipline.
“More importantly, I have never written, texted, emailed to anybody at anytime, anything related to football air pressure before this issue was raised at the AFC Championship game in January. To suggest that I destroyed a phone to avoid giving the NFL information it requested is completely wrong,” Brady wrote.
We even contacted the phone company to see if there was any possible way we could retrieve any/all of the actual text messages from my old phone. In short, we exhausted every possibility to give the NFL everything we could and offered to go thru the identity for every text and phone call during the relevant time. Regardless, the NFL knows that Mr. Wells already had ALL relevant communications with Patriots personnel that either Mr. Wells saw or that I was questioned about in my appeal hearing. There is no ‘smoking gun’ and this controversy is manufactured to distract from the fact they have zero evidence of wrongdoing.
Patriots Dispute NFL Decision
The Patriots, having previously agreed to pay $1 million and forfeit a first-round pick in the 20-16 draft and a fourth-round pick in 2017, criticized Goodell’s ruling. “We cannot comprehend the league’s position in this matter,’’ the Patriots statement said. “Most would agree that the penalties levied originally were excessive and unprecedented, especially in light of the fact that the league has no hard evidence of wrongdoing.’’
Brady denied that the phone would have turned up any evidence, and he denies he destroyed the phone.
Mike Dyce, a writer for Fansided.com, noted that Brady said he replaced his broken phone, not destroyed it. “To the average person who owns a phone, that typically means it was dropped and the screen was busted, otherwise it still works fine. People take these phones with damaged screens in and transfer data from that to their new phone all the time. Brady, however, suggests that his phone was damaged to the point that there was no way to retrieve the messages from them.”
Dyce notes that Brady is saying this occurred during the appeals process, and he had already disposed of the old phone, which a “normal person would’ve done.” Brady does not clarify the timeline, Dyce said. Nor does he clear up the NFL’s accusation that he destroyed his cell phone to avoid giving it over to Wells.
“The fact that the NFL would resort to basing a suspension on a smoke screen of irrelevant text messages instead of admitting that they have all of the phone records they asked for is a new low, even for them, but it does nothing to correct their errors,” the union said in a prepared statement.