The judge presiding over the appeal of Tom Brady’s Deflategate suspension ordered the NFL and NFL Players Association to “tone down their rhetoric’’ Thursday.
The Patriots weren’t a part of that directive and acted accordingly.
On Friday, the team released private emails from mid-February between Patriots officials, spokesman Stacey James and counsel Robyn Glaser, and NFL personnel, spokesman Greg Aiello and counsel Jeff Pash.
In the heated emails, which were posted on the team’s site, “The Wells Report in Context,’’ James and Glaser “demand’’ that the NFL disclose information to clear up false ESPN reports and address internal leaks, which they say led to the misinformation.
In the replies, Pash defers to NFL investigator Ted Wells, says any inaccuracies will be corrected with the release of Wells’ report (which occurred nearly three months later), and denies the leaks. (James’ initial email to Aiello is included, but the rest of the exchange is between Glaser and Pash.)
The team officials dispute the ESPN reports that stated: a Patriots staffer tried to introduce a kicking ball into the AFC Championship Game and 11 of the Patriots’ 12 balls were 2 pounds per square inch under the minimum in the game.
From James’ initial email to Aiello on February 17:
What is unconscionable to me is that the league holds data that could very well exonerate us from any wrongdoing and completely dismiss the rampant reports and allegations of nefarious actions, but the league refuses to provide the data. […] It has been over 4 weeks and we still can’t get a simple detail that I assume was available the night of the AFC Championship Game!
Glaser then forwarded James’ email to Pash the next morning and added her own comments, including:
[…] we hereby DEMAND that the misinformation included in this ESPN piece be formally and publicly corrected by the League IMMEDIATELY. Preferably within the next few hours but, in any case, no later than the end of the day today.
In Pash’s response, he denies the leaks: “I have no reason to think it came from our office but I certainly do not condone leaks which I do not serve anyone’s interest.’’
Glaser shoots back, telling Pash that the leaks “would only come from the League office’’ and to bring his “staff and office under control.’’
Pash’s reply to that, in part:
Once the investigation is completed and the facts are known, any incorrect reporting will be shown for what it is.
I don’t think that I am trying to disclaim responsibility by saying that ESPN printed the article. I am saying that I don’t believe our office was the source of the information. I agree that the leaks are frustrating and I will continue to do what I can to stop leaks from occurring.
Glaser then refers to Pash’s reply as “disingenuous.’’ From Glaser’s rebuttal:
Jeff, you need to stop. I can’t tell you the number of times you’ve told me that you and your office work for us member clubs. It has been made resoundingly clear to us that your words are just a front. They have no substance at all. If you worked for us , you would have already released today a statement to the effect of, ESPN, you’ve got it wrong.
Pash’s final email to Glaser in full:
Good morning Robyn,
I have given a fair amount of thought to how to respond to so personal and accusatory a note. I don’t think a point-by-point reply is likely to accomplish much. My replies to you yesterday were candid and respectful, and that will continue. They are not what you are looking for, but that does not make them disingenuous. I work for the Patriots, as well as for 31 other clubs and the Commissioner. Sometimes that creates tension, as it apparently has here. Jeff
Correction: An initial version of this story implied the judge’s order included the Patriots.
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