Tom Brady Suspended & New England Patriots Fined After Deflategate Report
The rumors are apparently true. Tom Brady has been suspended for four games over his alleged involvement in Deflategate. Although it appears that Brady might very well be the only player disciplined, as he was the primary player named in the Wells report, the New England Patriots organization will be punished as well. According to Sports Center, the NFL not only suspended Brady but also fined the Patriots $1 million and stripped the team of its 2016 first-round draft pick as well as its 2017 fourth-round draft pick. Bustle has reached out to the Patriots for comment.
It is not clear if Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick himself will be disciplined in any way other than the overall team punishment, as the report claimed he seemingly had no involvement in the Deflategate scandal. It is also not yet clear how, if at all, Patriots locker room attendant Jim McNally and equipment assistant John Jastremski will be disciplined. Both were repeatedly referenced and named in the Wells report, which alleged that they were behind the physical deflation of the Patriots' footballs.
Lawyer Ted Wells compiled the 243-page report after being tapped by the NFL to lead an independent investigation as to whether or not the Patriots had deflated footballs during their massive win against the Indianapolis Colts in the 2014 AFC championship game.
What the Wells report unearthed was that the balls had allegedly not only been knowingly deflated during the Pats-Colts game but for other games during the regular season. Wells concluded that Brady's involvement was "more probable than not" and that he was "at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities." Former Colts General Manager Bill Polian likened the phrase to absolute guilt. In an interview with ESPN, Polian said that the legal term essentially means that "this is a serious competitive violation that has to be treated as such by the league," thus a suspension is not at all surprising.
Brady's statements about Deflategate before his suspension was announced have basically boiled down to his denial of any knowledge, which he claimed before the report first came out. Then, Brady's reaction to the Wells report was, according to the quarterback, no reaction at all:
I don’t really have any reaction. Our owner commented on it yesterday. It’s only been 30 hours so I haven’t had much time to digest it fully, but when I do, I’ll be sure to let you know how I feel about it.
Don Yee, an agent for Brady, though, called the report a disappointment and claimed the report's "omission of key facts and lines of inquiry suggest the investigators reached a conclusion first, and then determined so-called facts later." Patriots owner Robert Kraft stated he still believed the Patriots organization had not done anything inappropriate.
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