|07.29.15 at 11:35 am ET|
With the upholding of Tom Brady‘s suspension, the Deflategate saga has taken yet another turn. With it, more headlines and smoking hot takes have been spawned.
More than anything, the Internet and Twitter have been set ablaze with reactions ranging from serious to irreverent, including those from current and former NFL players.
You will get to witness the true greatness of Bill Belichick under these circumstances. The whole organization will rally.
‘ DontÃ© Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) July 28, 2015
‘ GRONK SMASH (@GRONK_SMASH) July 28, 2015
My assistant Jack Daniels and I actually destroy a cell phone every four months or so. Usually just the screen but I get it.
‘ Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) July 28, 2015
|07.29.15 at 10:53 am ET|
Belichick opened his press conference following Kraft’s statement by saying the Patriots coaching staff is focused on preparing for the season, not Brady’s suspension or a possible showdown in court.
“I think Robert took care of the other situation. Tom had a statement so there’s nothing to really talk about there,” Belichick said. “Won’t be dealing with that at all. Just get the team ready and prepare for the regular season as we always do and as we did all spring. So, there’s no change for us on the football team.”
Belichick began his press conference by stressing his traditional approach to training camp.
“It’s good to see everyone back here. We got all the players back today for the start of training camp,” he said. “Right now, we’re in a long, step-by-step process as we head into the beginning of the 2015 season. So, we’re just going to take it one-day-at-a-time. I’d say we’ve got some preparation work to do, in terms of conditioning and going through some policies and things like that, trying to get everyone on the same page like we normally do. We’ll try to have a good day today and try to have another one tomorrow and just string them along day-by-day so that’s really where we’re at.”
Naturally, some of the over 50 reporters on hand did make several attempts to pry some type of response, with little to no success.
“We’re going to take it day-to-day, just like we always do,” Belichick said of the impact of the story. “We start training camp today. We’ll get ready for the 2015 season starting today.”
Anything to add?
“No. It’s already been addressed,” he said.
Another attempt to elicit some type of response was met with some wry humor.
“You heard what Robert just said. It’s already been addressed. Maybe you ought to go back and look at your notes. It’s already been addressed,” he said. “We’re going to continue to get the team ready for the 2015 season. That’s what we’re going to do.”
|07.29.15 at 10:34 am ET|
In the wake of the NFL’s upholding of Tom Brady‘s suspension for his involvement in Deflategate, ESPN radio and TV host Stephen A. Smith called in to Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday to talk about the ruling and its fallout. To listen to the interview, go the the D&C audio on demand page.
After a failed appeal of the suspension with the NFL, Brady is prepared to take the league to court in an attempt to get his suspension reduced or eliminated. According to Smith, who cited NFL sources, that isn’t a good idea.
“Somebody from the NFL, connected to the league office, told me yesterday: ‘Let him bring it on. If you get deposed, you give sworn testimony, we can then open the floodgates and ask anything. If he wants to open that Pandora’s box, be our guest. We will be waiting,'” Smith conveyed. “I’m telling you, he needs to drop this or it could potentially get ugly for everybody.”
On Wednesday morning, Brady issued a statement on his Facebook page with defenses and explanations for infractions that he stands accused of by the NFL. According to Smith, Brady’s reasoning was believable, but very predictably so.
“The way Brady sounds makes a lot of sense,” Smith said. “When you have time and you write down an explanation months after the fact and your lawyers and your representation and everybody looks over it, you can come up with a lot of plausible explanations. Or [NFL commissioner] Roger Goodell may very well be wrong. It depends on what side you believe.”
Smith said that the controversy goes well beyond the suspected deflation of footballs and is more an issue of preserving the authority of Goodell.
“The NFL could have resolved this so long ago,” Smith said. “They not only dragged it out, they paid $5 million [to investigator Ted Wells] on top of it, so, clearly, this is not about deflated footballs.
“This is about something significantly more, and one would venture to guess, it’s about the power the NFL wields and sending a message to the Patriots, to Tom Brady and the players association that, ‘You don’t have dominion over us, it is definitely the other way around, and you had better recognize that.’ “
|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.