|07.29.15 at 10:23 am ET|
FOXBORO — Prior to Bill Belichick‘s regularly scheduled press conference to open the start of training camp, Robert Kraft took to the podium and addressed the appeal of Tom Brady‘s four-game suspension being upheld.
He came out swinging against the league the way the whole matter has been handled.
“The league’s handling of this entire process has been extremely frustrating and disconcerting,” Kraft said. “I will never understand why an initial erroneous report regarding the psi level of footballs was leaked by a source from the NFL a few days after the AFC championship game was never corrected by those who had the correct information. For four months, that report cast dispersions and shaped public opinion.
“Yesterday’s decision by commissioner [Roger] Goodell was released in a similar matter under an erroneous headline which read, ‘Tom Brady destroyed his cellphone.’ This headline was designed to capture headlines across the country and obscure evidence regarding the tampering of air pressure in footballs. It intentionally implied [unfair] behavior and minimized the acknowledged that Tom provided the history of every number he texted during that relevant time frame. We had already provided the league with every cellphone of every non NFLPA employee that they requested, including head coach Bill Belichick.”
Kraft said the league’s ruling Tuesday was “unfathomable.”
He went onto say he regretted what he said in May at the NFL owners’ meetings accepting the league’s penalties against the organization and apologized to Brady and Patriots fans.
“I first and foremost need to apologize to our fans because I truly believe what I did in May given the actual evidence of this situation and the league’s history on discipline matters would make it much easier for the league to exonerate Tom Brady,” he said. “Unfortunately I was wrong.”
“I was wrong to put my faith in the league,” he added.
Kraft said it was the NFL who has forced this case to go to court, despite Brady, the NFLPA and Kraft himself trying to settle it without it needing to go to federal court.
|07.29.15 at 7:41 am ET|
Tom Brady responded to the NFL’s confirmation of his four-game suspension by defending himself in a statement on his Facebook page Wednesday morning and insisting neither he nor anyone in the Patriots organization did anything wrong.
In his strongest public comments since the controversy broke after the AFC championship game, the Patriots quarterback wrote:
I am very disappointed by the NFL’s decision to uphold the 4 game suspension against me. I did nothing wrong, and no one in the Patriots organization did either.
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.
To try and reconcile the record and fully cooperate with the investigation after I was disciplined in May, we turned over detailed pages of cell phone records and all of the emails that Mr. Wells requested. We even contacted the phone company to see if there was any possible way we could retrieve any/all of the actual text messages from my old phone. In short, we exhausted every possibility to give the NFL everything we could and offered to go thru the identity for every text and phone call during the relevant time. Regardless, the NFL knows that Mr. Wells already had ALL relevant communications with Patriots personnel that either Mr. Wells saw or that I was questioned about in my appeal hearing. There is no “smoking gun” and this controversy is manufactured to distract from the fact they have zero evidence of wrongdoing.
I authorized the NFLPA to make a settlement offer to the NFL so that we could avoid going to court and put this inconsequential issue behind us as we move forward into this season. The discipline was upheld without any counter offer. I respect the Commissioners authority, but he also has to respect the CBA and my rights as a private citizen. I will not allow my unfair discipline to become a precedent for other NFL players without a fight.
Lastly, I am overwhelmed and humbled by the support of family, friends and our fans who have supported me since the false accusations were made after the AFC Championship game. I look forward to the opportunity to resume playing with my teammates and winning more games for the New England Patriots.
|07.28.15 at 10:58 pm ET|
Jeff Samardzija is one of millions of Americans with an opinion on Tom Brady.
“I think he should’ve just said he let air out of the ball a long time ago,” Samardzija told WEEI.com.
What gives Samardjiza interesting perspective in this particular case is that he was a receiver for Brady’s former offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, when Weis was head coach at Notre Dame in 2005 and ’06.
“It’s not a big deal,” Samardjiza continued. “I don’t think anyone would’ve been mad at him. The only reason you don’t say something is you’re worried about your legacy. But I think his legacy was pretty established. I don’t think a flat football is going to change the opinion on him very much.”
There were rumors that the Patriots might be interested in Samardzija after he showed promise in 2005 but Samardzija announced, after being selected in the 2006 MLB Draft, that he would take his name out of the 2007 NFL Draft.
Informed that Tuesday was not a particularly good day for Brady as Roger Goodell upheld the four-game suspension on the quarterback, Samardzija again offered some perspective.
“That’s OK. He’s doing fine. He’s got [four] Super Bowls, a model wife. He’ll be OK,” he said.
|07.28.15 at 9:39 pm ET|
According to a Tuesday night report from Pro Football Talk, the NFL was willing to drop Tom Brady‘s four-game suspension by “at least 50 percent” if the quarterback agreed to three major points: one, he admitted to having knowledge of whatever John Jastremski and Jim McNally were doing to the footballs. Two, he admitted to failing to cooperate with the Ted Wells investigation. And three, he apologized.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|07.28.15 at 8:47 pm ET|
The NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell announced Tuesday that Tom Brady‘s four-game suspension for his role in Deflategate has been upheld. Brady’s appeal was heard by Goodell on June 23 and now over a month later a decision has been finally reached.
As part of the decision being upheld, the NFL released a 20-page report in which Goodell goes into each part of the case and fully explains his stance on it, including a conclusion as to why Brady’s suspension remains at four games.
The complete 20-page report can be found here.
Here are some of the takeaways:
— The report says Brady destroyed his cellphone “on or about March 6, 2015 — the very day that he was interviewed by Mr. [Ted] Wells and his investigative team. Mr. Brady’s counsel submitted correspondence and other materials indicating that the cell phone that Mr. Brady had used from November 6, 2014 through March 5 or 6, 2015, was unavailable because it had been destroyed, and that the text messages exchanged on that cellphone could not be retrieved.”
At his appeal hearing Brady “testified that it is practice to destroy (or to give to his assistant to destroy) his cellphone and SIM cards when he gets a new cellphone. Mr. Brady also testified that based on his typical practice, he would have asked to have the existing cellphone destroyed at or about the same time that he began using his new cellphone.”
— Following the appeal hearing, which John Jastremski and Jim McNally did not appear as witnesses at, Goodell asked if he could get testimony from them. Brady and the NFLPA disclaimed any need to do so.
— The report addressed Goodell hearing the appeal: “As always, I am bound, of course, by standards of fairness and consistency of treatment among players similarly situated, and I have had those standards in mind throughout my consideration of this appeal.”
|07.28.15 at 6:05 pm ET|
The Patriots will not sit by and watch the NFL try to destroy the reputation of their starting quarterback.
The team issued a strong statement Tuesday afternoon in the wake of commissioner Roger Goodell’s decision to uphold the four-game suspension of Tom Brady.
“We are extremely disappointed in today’s ruling by Commissioner Goodell,” the statement began. “We cannot comprehend the league’s position in this matter. Most would agree that the penalties levied originally were excessive and unprecedented, especially in light of the fact that the league has no hard evidence of wrongdoing. We continue to unequivocally believe in and support Tom Brady.
“We also believe that the laws of science continue to underscore the folly of this entire ordeal. Given all of this, it is incomprehensible as to why the league is attempting to destroy the reputation of one of its greatest players and representatives.”
This is the strongest statement the team has issued since it released “The Wells Report in Context” on its website in May, shortly after the Wells report was released on May 6.
But just 13 days later, after Goodell fined the team $1 million, docked it a first-round pick (2016) and a fourth-rounder (2017) and suspended Tom Brady four games, team owner Robert Kraft acquiesced to the fine and draft pick penalties, allowing Tom Brady to fight his discipline through the NFL appeals process.
|07.28.15 at 5:42 pm ET|
The NFL had its say, Tom Brady‘s agent had his say and now the NFLPA has its say.
In response to Brady’s four-game suspension being upheld, the NFLPA released the following statement:
The Commissioner’s ruling today did nothing to address the legal deficiencies of due process. The NFL remains stuck with the following facts:
- The NFL had no policy that applied to players;
- The NFL provided no notice of any such policy or potential discipline to players;
- The NFL resorted to a nebulous standard of “general awareness” to predicate a legally unjustified punishment;
- The NFL had no procedures in place until two days ago to test air pressure in footballs; and
- The NFL violated the plain meaning of the collective bargaining agreement.
The fact that the NFL would resort to basing a suspension on a smoke screen of irrelevant text messages instead of admitting that they have all of the phone records they asked for is a new low, even for them, but it does nothing to correct their errors.
The NFLPA will appeal this outrageous decision on behalf of Tom Brady.
For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.