Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld Tom Brady‘s four-game suspension Tuesday. (Elsa/Getty Images)
The NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell announced Tuesday that Tom Brady‘s four-game suspension for his role in Deflategate has been upheld. Brady’s appeal was heard by Goodell on June 23 and now over a month later a decision has been finally reached.
As part of the decision being upheld, the NFL released a 20-page report where Goodell goes into each part of the case and fully explains his stance on it, including a conclusion as to why Brady’s suspension remains at four games.
The complete 20-page report can be found here.
Here are some of the takeaways:
— The report says Brady destroyed his cellphone “on or about March 6, 2015 — the very day that he was interviewed by Mr. [Ted] Wells and his investigative team. Mr. Brady’s counsel submitted correspondence and other materials indicating that the cell phone that Mr. Brady had used from November 6, 2014 through March 5 or 6, 2015, was unavailable because it had been destroyed, and that the text messages exchanged on that cellphone could not be retrieved.”
At his appeal hearing Brady “testified that it is practice to destroy (or to give to his assistant to destroy) his cellphone and SIM cards when he gets a new cellphone. Mr. Brady also testified that based on his typical practice, he would have asked to have the existing cellphone destroyed at or about the same time that he began using his new cellphone.”
— Following the appeal hearing, which John Jastremski and Jim McNally did not appear as witnesses at, Goodell asked if he could get testimony from them. Brady and the NFLPA disclaimed any need to do so.
— The report addressed Goodell hearing the appeal: “As always, I am bound, of course, by standards of fairness and consistency of treatment among players similarly situated, and I have had those standards in mind throughout my consideration of this appeal.”
— The NFLPA and Brady didn’t dispute the findings in the Wells Report, based on experiments conducted by Exponent, that the period of time McNally spent in the bathroom was more than enough time for him to release air from each of the footballs. The report said Brady and the NFLPA submitted alternative scientific analysis from AEI and had Dean Snyder, of the Yale School of Management, an economist who specializes in industrial organization speak giving counter arguments to the findings of the Wells Report.
After listening to both sides, Goodell came to the conclusion that “the decline in pressure cannot be explained by environmental, physical or other natural factors. Instead, at least a substantial part of the decline was the result of tampering.”
— Brady denied any involvement of being in a scheme to deflate the footballs. Goodell said he “cannot credit this denial” for a number of reasons.
The report states: “In short, the available electronic evidence, coupled with information compiled in the investigators’ interviews, leads me to conclude that Mr. Brady knew about, approved of, consented to, and provided inducements and rewards in support of a scheme by which, with Mr. Jastremski’s support, Mr. McNally tampered with the game balls. The result was to undermine, if not vitiate, the game officials’ efforts to ensure that the game balls used by the Patriots compiled with league rules.”
— The report says Brady refused to cooperate with the investigation, saying he declined to make investigators available to electronic information including texts and emails related to the subject of the investigation. Brady was asked repeatedly and even the investigators offered to “allow his counsel to select the responsive communications so that the privacy of his personal communications could be maintained.”
Besides saying Brady was involved in a scheme to tamper with the footballs, the report says, “Mr. Brady willfully obstructed the investigation by, among other things, affirmatively arranging for destruction of his cellphone knowing it contained potentially relevant information that had been requested by the investigators.”
— The report says nothing previous in the history of the NFL is directly comparable to this — not Bountygate, Brett Favre‘s case, Panthers-Vikings warming of footballs on sidelines or the Jets’ equipment staff member who attempted to use unapproved equipment in plain view to prepare kicking balls. It says the “closest parallel” is the first violation of the policy governing performance enhancing drugs.
— As for the penalty, the report says Brady knows that players are subject to being suspended for violating playing rules and he had no reason to believe that a suspension could not be imposed for what the report says Brady had knowledge of.
— The report’s conclusion reads as follows:
I entered into the appeal process open to reevaluating my assessment of Mr. Brady’s conduct and the associated discipline. Especially in light of the new evidence introduced at the hearing — evidence demonstrating that he arranged for the destruction of potentially relevant evidence that had been specifically requested by the investigators — my findings and conclusions have not changed in a matter that would benefit Mr. Brady.
Notwithstanding my enormous respect for his accomplishments on the field and for his contributions and role in the community, I find that, with respect to the game balls used in the AFC Championship Game and the subsequent investigation, Mr. Brady engaged in contract detrimental to the integrity of, and public confidence in, the game of professional football.
The four-game suspension is confirmed. In response to a concern raised by the NFLPA, this will confirm that compensation for the intervening bye week will be paid to Mr. Brady in equal installments over the remainder of the season once he returns from his suspension.