The NFL has decided to uphold Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for his involvement in the Patriots’ deflated balls scandal.
While Brady and the NFL Players Association will reportedly take the case to federal court, the NFL argued that Brady’s case was hurt by the revelation that he had his mobile phone destroyed during the NFL’s investigation.
According to the NFL’s 20-page report on their decision, Brady had an assistant destroy the mobile phone that he’d been using since November 2014 around March 6, 2015, the day he met with NFL investigators. According to Brady, it’s common practice for him to ask assistants to destroy his hold mobile phones when he gets new ones.
The NFL wanted to review Brady’s text messages and other forms of communication with locker room attendant Jim McNally and equipment assistant John Jastremski. The NFL wasn’t aware that Brady’s phone had been destroyed until June 18 — three months after speaking with investigators and days before his appeal.
In the report, the NFL clearly and concisely outlines why the destruction of his phone was so damning to his case:
“Mr. Brady’s direction that his mobile phone (and its relevant evidence) be destroyed on or around March 6 is very troubling. Rather than simply failing to cooperate, Mr. Brady made a deliberate effort to ensure that investigators would never have access to information that he had been asked to produce. Put differently, there was an affirmative effort by Mr. Brady to conceal potentially relevant evidence and to undermine the investigation. Mr. Brady’s conduct gives rise to an inference that information from his mobile phone, if it were available, would further demonstrate his direct knowledge of or involvement with the scheme to tamper with the game balls prior to the AFC Championship game. Mr. Brady’s affirmative action to ensure that this information would not be available leads me to conclude that he was attempting to conceal evidence of his personal involvement in the tampering scheme, just as he had concealed for months the fact that he had destroyed his mobile phone requested by the investigators.”
Of course, Brady’s reasoning for destroying his phone, according to the report, was simpler. He said he tells his assistant “to destroy the phone so that no one can ever, you know, reset it or do something where the information is available to anyone.”
At the time of the investigation, it was reported that Brady simply wouldn’t give investigators his phone, though they reportedly just asked for records of his communication with McNally and Jastremski. The Wells Report published damning texts between McNally and Jastremski and Brady in which they discussed Brady’s preference for ball inflation, in addition to receiving signed balls and shoes from Brady for deflating the balls. In one text McNally referred to himself as “the deflator.”
Additionally, during the time the deflated balls scandal broke and of the investigation, there was increased communication between Brady, McNally, and Jastremski.
Though it’s possible the court could have a different reading of Brady’s involvement in the scheme, he certainly looks worse for destroying the evidence.
In a statement, Brady’s agent Don Yee called the appeals process a “sham,” adding, “Tom was completely transparent. All of the electronic information was ignored; we don’t know why.”
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