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The NFL has upheld its four-game suspension of Patriots QB Tom Brady for his role in the #DeflateGate incident in which footballs were deflated in the AFC Championship Game back in January. In today's ruling, commissioner Roger Goodell stated that Brady destroyed his cell phone during the investigation process and that helped prove that he knew about the scheme to deflate the footballs.
Don Yee (Brady's agent) statement:
“The Commissioner’s decision is deeply disappointing, but not surprising because the appeal process was thoroughly lacking in procedural fairness,” Yee said. “Most importantly, neither Tom nor the Patriots did anything wrong. And the NFL has no evidence that anything inappropriate occurred.
“The appeal process was a sham, resulting in the Commissioner rubber-stamping his own decision. For example, the Wells investigative team was given over 100 days to conduct its investigation. Just days prior to the appeal hearing, we were notified that we would only have four hours to present a defense; therefore, we didn’t have enough time to examine important witnesses. Likewise, it was represented to the public that the Wells team was ‘independent’; however, when we requested documents from Wells, our request was rejected on the basis of privilege. We therefore had no idea as to what Wells found from other witnesses, nor did we know what those other witnesses said.
“These are just two examples of how the Commissioner failed to ensure a fair process.
“Additionally, the science in the Wells Report was junk. It has been thoroughly discredited by independent third parties.
“Finally, as to the issue of cooperation, we presented the Commissioner with an unprecedented amount of electronic data, all of which is incontrovertible. I do not think that any private citizen would have agreed to provide anyone with the amount of information that Tom was willing to reveal to the Commissioner. Tom was completely transparent. All of the electronic information was ignored; we don’t know why. The extent to which Tom opened up his private life to the Commissioner will become clear in the coming days.
The Commissioner’s decision and discipline has no precedent in all of NFL history. His decision alters the competitive balance of the upcoming season. The decision is wrong and has no basis, and it diminishes the integrity of the game.”
"We are extremely disappointed in today’s ruling by Commissioner Goodell. We cannot comprehend the league’s position in this matter. 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. We continue to unequivocally believe in and support Tom Brady. We also believe that the laws of science continue to underscore the folly of this entire ordeal. Given all of this, it is incomprehensible as to why the league is attempting to destroy the reputation of one of its greatest players and representatives."
NFLPA STATEMENT ON TOM BRADY'S FOUR-GAME SUSPENSION
The Commissioner's ruling today did nothing to address the legal deficiencies of due process. The NFL remains stuck with the following facts:
The NFL had no policy that applied to players;
The NFL provided no notice of any such policy or potential discipline to players;
The NFL resorted to a nebulous standard of "general awareness" to predicate a legally unjustified punishment;
The NFL had no procedures in place until two days ago to test air pressure in footballs; and
The NFL violated the plain meaning of the collective bargaining agreement.
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 NFLPA will appeal this outrageous decision on behalf of Tom Brady.