The NFL said that Tom Brady directed that a cell phone he used to allegedly text Patriots employees be destroyed after the league requested access to that phone. In an investigation conducted by Ted Wells, the league concluded that Brady “more probable than not” had knowledge of or directed that footballs used in the AFC Championship Game be deflated to pressure levels lower than NFL rules mandated.
Brady countered with a Facebook post saying that he wasn’t going to give up his rights as a “private citizen” by turning over his phone and said he destroyed the Samsung phone when he bought a new iPhone.
The NFLPA filed suit in Minnesota district court, where it was hoping to receive judge David Doty if the case was heard there, but U.S. district judge Richard Kyle in Minnesota wrote that there is little reason for the Minnesota court to hear the case, sending it back to New York, where the NFL quickly filed to seek confirmation of it’s ruling after announcing that Brady’s suspension was upheld.
The NFLPA laid out the following arguments in its appeal:
The collective bargaining agreement provides procedures and guidelines for how the Commissioner conducts disciplinary hearings and the rules applicable to players. The NFL chose to violate these principles.
Of course, Brady also had something to say on the matter with a post he made on Facebook. Among the highlights of his lengthy post:
“Despite submitting to hours of testimony over the past 6 months, it is disappointing that the Commissioner upheld my suspension based upon a standard that it was ‘probable’ that I was ‘generally aware’ of misconduct. The fact is that neither I, nor any equipment person, did anything of which we have been accused. He dismissed my hours of testimony and it is disappointing that he found it unreliable.
“I also disagree with yesterdays narrative surrounding my cellphone. I replaced my broken Samsung phone with a new iPhone 6 AFTER my attorneys made it clear to the NFL that my actual phone device 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.
“Most 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 that he “fully cooperated” with the NFL’s investigation and turned over “detailed” pages of cell phone records and e-mails, saying his camp contacted the phone company in an attempt to retrieve “any/all” of the text messages.
Brady’s lawyers are asking Doty to throw out the suspension before Sept. 4, which would allow Brady to practice leading up to the Patriots’ season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
If the case would have been heard by Doty in Minnesota, it would have been a perceived advantage for Brady and the union. Doty’s union-leaning rulings started in 1992 when he granted unrestricted free agency in a case championed by former Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Reggie White, who went to the Green Bay Packers after winning that ruling.
Brady’s case has caused such a ripple that the NFL has asked Scarborough, Maine, police to watch the home of Roger Goodell, according to the Portland Press Herald, since his decision isn’t popular in New England.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft said the team provided the league with head coach Bill Belichick’s phone as part of the investigation. Kraft, who was friendly with Goodell prior to this investigation, ripped the league’s decision to uphold the suspension.
“I was wrong to put my faith in the league,” Kraft said in a statement issued Wednesday. “Given the facts, evidence and laws of science that underscore this entire situation, it is completely incomprehensible to me that the league continues to take steps to disparage one of its all-time great players and a man for whom I have the utmost respect.”
Said Brady in his Facebook post: “There is no ‘smoking gun’ and this controversy is manufactured to distract from the fact they have zero evidence of wrongdoing.”