The NFL is not backing down on Deflategate.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld the 4-game suspension it leveled against Tom Brady for his role in the scandal, the league announced Tuesday. Goodell heard Brady’s appeal June 23.
In its announcement, the NFL cited information about the destruction of Brady’s cell phone disclosed after the release of the Wells Report.
On or shortly before March 6, the day that Tom Brady met with independent investigator Ted Wells and his colleagues, Brady directed that the cell phone he had used for the prior four months be destroyed. He did so even though he was aware that the investigators had requested access to text messages and other electronic information that had been stored on that phone. During the four months that the cell phone was in use, Brady had exchanged nearly 10,000 text messages, none of which can now be retrieved from that device. The destruction of the cell phone was not disclosed until June 18, almost four months after the investigators had first sought electronic information from Brady.
In his 20-page decision released Tuesday, Goodell said the following:
The evidence fully supports my findings that (1) Mr. Brady participated in a scheme to tamper with the game balls after they had been approved by the game officials for use in the AFC Championship Game and (2) Mr. Brady willfully obstructed the investigation by, among other things, affirmatively arranging for destruction of his cellphone knowing that it contained potentially relevant information that had been requested by the investigators. All of this indisputably constitutes conduct detrimental to the integrity of, and public confidence in, the game of professional football.
The league initially suspended Brady four games in May after a report by investigator Ted Wells found it “more probable than not’’ Tom Brady was “at least generally aware’’ of two team personnel intentionally deflating game balls in the AFC Championship game in January.
Brady appealed the suspension, and spoke before self-appointed arbiter Goodell for 10 hours June 23.
Brady will be eligible to return Monday, Oct. 12, the day after the Patriots’ Week 5 game against the Dallas Cowboys. His first game will be against the Indianapolis Colts.
The Deflategate timeline