|ESPN’s Chris Mortensen backs out of interview with D&C, refuses to explain inaccurate Deflategate report that fueled anti-Patriots furor||07.31.15 at 9:13 am ET|
ESPN reporter Chris Mortensen, who reported in January that the NFL determined that 11 of 12 Patriots footballs in the AFC championship game were 2.0 pounds under the minimum pressure allowed by the league — information that turned out to be inaccurate — refused to join the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning, canceling his scheduled appearance after becoming frustrated with the hosts’ promotion of the interview.
“You guys made a mistake by drumming up business for the show and how I would address my reporting for the first time,” Mortensen emailed D&C. “I will not allow WEEI [Robert] Kraft or anybody to make me the centerpiece of a story that has been misreported far beyond anything I did in the first 48 hours. Maybe when the lawsuit is settled, in Brady’s favor, I hope, we can revisit. Don’t call.”
The show reached out to Mortensen anyhow, but the call went directly to voicemail.
Despite the fact that the details in Mortensen’s report turned out to be false, he never deleted nor corrected the tweet in which he broke the news that sparked a wave of anti-Patriots sentiment across the nation.
The tweet read: NFL has found that 11 of the Patriots footballs used in Sunday’s AFC title game were under-inflated by 2 lbs each, per league sources.
D&C host John Dennis reported that NFL vice president of game operations Mike Kensil (a former longtime Jets employee) was the source for Mortensen’s information, noting that Kensil reportedly told a Patriots equipment employee during the game that the team was “in big [expletive] trouble.” Kensil had been alerted to concerns about the pressure in Patriots footballs by Colts general manager Ryan Grigson.
During his comments prior to the opening of training camp Wednesday, Robert Kraft criticized the league for leaking false information that turned public sentiment against the team. The league never attempted to correct Mortensen’s report, although it was confirmed as inaccurate in the Wells Report in May, two months after the true readings were revealed.
Adam Schefter, appearing on the D&C show Thursday, defended his ESPN colleague and deflected the blame to the NFL sources who provided and confirmed the information.
Said Schefter: “If you had [Mortensen] on, I guarantee he’d have an explanation for it. Again, I have the utmost respect for him, so I’d have to let him explain why he did what he did. … If that is indeed the case that one, two, three high-level individuals intentionally misled him to try to smear the Patriots, I say more shame on those people than Mort, but that’s where I would side.”
|NFLPA to file suit in federal court in Minnesota challenging Tom Brady suspension; NFL already filed||07.29.15 at 3:26 pm ET|
The NFL, meanwhile, attempted to beat the union to the punch — and keep the case out of labor-friendly Minnesota — filing its own suit in New York Federal Court asking for the suspension to be upheld.
The NFLPA released a statement after Tuesday’s confirmation of the suspension that read in part:
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.
|Tom Brady defends himself in Facebook statement: ‘I did nothing wrong’||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.
|Report: Stephen Gostkowski agrees to 4-year deal with Patriots||07.15.15 at 2:33 pm ET|
The sides were working to beat a 4 p.m. deadline, at which time Gostkowski would have been locked in to playing under the one-year, $4.59 million franchise tender he signed in March.
Gostkowski, 31, has played nine seasons for the Patriots since being drafted out of Memphis in 2006 to replace Adam Vinatieri. In 2014 he hit 35 of his 37 field goal attempts for a career-high 94.6 percent mark, leading to his third Pro Bowl selection and a second-team All-Pro honor. He also led the league in scoring with 156 points, booted 53 kickoffs for touchbacks (tied for fifth most in the league) and hit all 51 PATs he attempted.
In his career he sits at 86.8 percent on field goals.
The second-longest-tenured player on the team (behind Tom Brady), Gostkowski became the franchise’s career scoring leader last season, passing Vinatieri. He has 1,179 points in 136 career games.
|Report: NFLPA will go to court if Tom Brady remains suspended for any games||07.15.15 at 9:19 am ET|
With the league awaiting Roger Goodell’s ruling on Tom Brady‘s appeal of his four-game suspension for his role in Deflategate, the NFL Players Association apparently is preparing for its next move.
According to a report from ABC News legal analyst Ryan Smith, the NFLPA will head to federal court to challenge the league if Brady still is suspended for any games.
Brady met with Goodell last month at NFL headquarters in New York to plead his case.
‘ Ryan Smith (@ryansmithtv) July 15, 2015
|Report: Some NFL execs find Tom Brady ‘not entirely credible’ in appeal||06.24.15 at 1:33 pm ET|
Following an ESPN report Tuesday night that Tom Brady delivered an “A-plus” performance at his appeal hearing, Pro Football Talk reported Wednesday that the quarterback might not have impressed NFL executives quite that much.
Crediting a league source, PFT’s Mike Florio wrote that Brady “simply reiterated his denial regarding any involvement in or knowledge of whatever it was that John Jastremski and Jim McNally may have been doing with the team’s footballs,” and some of Brady’s answers to follow-up questions “were regarded by some in the room … as not entirely credible.”
PFT also reports that Brady’s case was mainly focused on the flawed science in the Wells Report, along with the fact that there is no proof of Brady’s guilt.
|Aaron Hernandez’s lawyer says he received tip about potentially ‘untruthful’ juror||06.15.15 at 7:59 pm ET|
A lawyer for Aaron Hernandez said an anonymous tipster alerted him to a problem with one of the jurors who convicted the former Patriots tight end of first-degree murder.
According to court documents released Monday (via The Associated Press), attorney James Sultan first received a call April 16, the day after Hernandez was convicted for the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd. The woman made several other calls from a blocked number. The names of the juror and the tipster were redacted in the documents, along with specifics of the calls.
According to Sultan, the woman recognized a female juror on television and said the juror was present for a discussion of the Hernandez’s double murder case, for which he is due to go on trial later this year or early next year. The judge barred mentions of those killings at the trial.
Sultan also said the caller informed him that the juror had said she wanted to be seated on the Hernandez panel.
Another juror was dismissed by Judge Susan Garsh during the trial for similar reasons — previously discussing the case and expressing an interest in being seated.