Since the NFL released the Wells report and handed down penalties to the New England Patriots and Tom Brady for probably conspiring to deflate footballs used in games, one key figure in the entire scandal has been oddly silent: head coach Bill Belichick.
Unlike Belichick, Patriots owner Robert Kraft has been very outspoken in the aftermath of Deflategate, issuing a statement saying the team was “disappointed” in the reports findings, later saying the penalties “far exceeded any reasonable expectation,” and OK’ing the production of a 20,000 word rebuttal to the Wells Report, all before eventually deciding to stop fighting the Roger Goodell and the NFL.
Like Belichick, Brady has been noticeably silent. However, his silence is reasonable considering his appeal is still pending.
But where is Belichick?
His silence is particularly odd because he was uncharacteristically vocal when the scandal first broke prior to the Super Bowl and was really the face of the Patriots’ defence to start.
In the days after word first broke that the NFL was investigating the Patriots, it was Belichick who delivered a somewhat lengthy monologue — by his standards — during a press conference denying any knowledge of the air pressure in footballs and deflecting questions to Brady.
Then, two days later, he held a surreal impromptu press conference revealing that he had done an internal investigation into how the Patriots prepared footballs, assured us he is not the “Mona Lisa Vito of the football world,” and declared that “at no time was there any intent whatsoever to try to compromise the integrity of the game or to gain an advantage.”
“I’m embarrassed to talk about the amount of time I’ve put into this relative to the other important challenge in front of us,” said Belichick at the time.
That was the week before the Super Bowl. And yet, now, during one of the quietest times of the year for a football team, Belichick is mum.
This has led to speculation that Belichick is purposely letting Brady take the bullet for this one. In fact, one Boston Herald writer says he was told Belichick never believed Brady’s story from the beginning.
“Belichick never believed his story, from what I was told,” Ron Borges said on Comcast’s “Sports Tonight” show. “Because they all know. Why do you think all those retired quarterbacks, the Troy Aikmans of the world — Troy Aikman is about as nice a guy as I’ve ever met in football — nobody’s backed [Brady]. Nobody, not a single guy. Why do you think that is? Because they hate Brady? No. Because they’re not stupid. They know nothing’s done with those balls that the quarterback doesn’t want done.”
When the scandal first broke, Aikman told a radio station in Dallas that Brady and the Patriots deserved a punishment harsher than the historic one levied against the New Orleans Saints for Bountygate.
At some point, Belichick will be back in front of the media and he will be asked about his support of Brady. It will be interesting to see if he is as vocal as he was before the Super Bowl, because he sure isn’t now.
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