What Punishment Could Tom Brady Face For His Alleged Role In NFL's Deflategate?

Months after the controversy over whether or not the footballs used in the 2014 AFC championship were deflated, an investigation by attorney Ted Wells determined that not only were the footballs deflated, but also claimed Tom Brady most likely knew about it. Brady's name is mentioned 378 times in the report, according to NBC Sports, and it seems fairly plausible that the NFL will discipline Tom Brady for his alleged involvement. Commenting on the report, Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has been consistently criticized for his handling of the league the past year or so, said "possible disciplinary action" will be considered.

According to NBC Sports, it's hard to predict exactly what punishment Brady might face, because the NFL has never seen a rules violation like this before. But the most likely options are either a fine or a suspension, and, of course, the sullied reputation the NFL star now might face.

Brady has yet to respond to the allegations, though he denied any wrongdoing when the controversy first arose. His dad has spoken out, defending Brady and calling the entire controversy "Framegate," according to USA Today. Tom Brady Sr. said he was confident in his son's integrity and raised questions about the findings that stated it was more probable than not that Brady "was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities." The elder Brady said:

How can Tommy defend himself? It's impossible. This is so distorted. To have something come out like this and say it's more probable than not? What does that mean? ... I'm watching the NFL Network saying he could be fined and suspended. Are you kidding me?
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Also implicated in Wells' report were two New England Patriots employees, equipment assistant John Jastremski and locker room attendant Jim McNally. Text messages between the two allegedly refer to the deflation of balls as well as gifts such as cash and autographed memorabilia. Before the AFC game began, McNally allegedly stopped at a restroom, footballs in tow, for nearly two minutes after the referees had checked the footballs. The report further states that investigators don't believe coach Bill Belichick, the other coaches, the team's ownership, or any other player or staffer had any knowledge of the wrongdoing.

Brady denied the Deflategate allegations in January, stating, "I didn't alter the ball in any way. I have no knowledge of wrongdoing."

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According to Boston sport channel NESN (New England Sports Network), any disciplinary action would come from Troy Vincent, the NFL vice president of football operations. A statement from Commissioner Goodell read:

As with other recent matters involving violations of competitive rules, Troy Vincent and his team will consider what steps to take in light of the report, both with respect to possible disciplinary action and to any changes in protocols that are necessary to avoid future incidents of this type. At the same time, we will continue our efforts vigorously to protect the integrity of the game and promote fair play at all times.

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