I have completed my review of Roger Goodell's decision, issued yesterday. Here, I destroy all of the most ridiculous bits:
“...the Patriots advised me that the club had indefinitely suspended two of its employees, John Jastremski, an assistant equipment employee, and James McNally, a gameday employee who served as the attendant in the Officials’ Locker Room.”
-The Patriots claim this was ordered by Commissioner Goodell. Interesting that he chooses not to address that claim here.
“…resulting in a transcript more than 450 pages long…and more than thirty summaries of interviews conducted by NFL security representatives prior to the retention of Paul Weiss.”
-Can we have a look at this material? If not, why not?
“Both before and after the hearing, Mr. Brady’s attorneys and agents submitted additional correspondence, including phone records from Mr. Brady’s cellphone carrier.
-So Brady provided you with his cell phone information. Yet you accuse him of non-cooperation.
“The most significant new information that emerged in connection with the appeal was evidence that on or about March 6, 2015—the very day that he was interviewed by Mr. Wells and his investigative team—Mr. Brady instructed his assistant to destroy the cellphone that he had been using since early November 2014, a period that included the AFC Championship Game and the initial weeks of the subsequent investigation.”
-Was this cellphone under subpoena by a court of law? Neither you nor anyone else at the NFL has the rights to a player’s personal cell phone. It’s not evidence just because you say it is. What precisely convinces you that there is evidence on that phone? Your suspicions do not qualify as “evidence”.
You already have the cell phones of Jastremski, McNally, and Dave Schoenfeld, and you read (and even quoted) messages from Brady to Jastremski and vice versa. According to you those are the only 3 people involved. What else is on Brady’s phone?
“Despite repeated requests for that information, beginning in mid-February 2015 and continuing during his March 6, 2015 interview by the investigators, information indicating that Mr. Brady might have destroyed his cellphone was not disclosed until months later, on June 18, 2015, and not confirmed until the day of the hearing itself.”
-You asked him for his personal cell phone. He said no. His decision was final. Then he destroyed his phone. His PERSONAL cell phone, which you have no rights to. What’s the issue?
“He told the Patriots’ equipment staff that he wanted the footballs inflated at the lowest permissible level;”
-Brady never used that specific terminology. He requested that his footballs be inflated to 12.50 PSI after the 10/16/2015 game vs. the Jets, in which the footballs were measured at 16 PSI after the game, in clear violation of league policy. According to the Wells report, this overinflation was done by the officials during the pre-game inspection of the footballs. Brady was understandably very angry about this error by the officials, and to prevent future errors, he instructed his equipment managers to show the rulebook to the officials of future games so they would not make the same mistake again.
“On the day of the AFC Championship Game, Mr. McNally told referee Walt Anderson that Mr. Brady wanted the balls inflated to a pressure of 12.5 psi. He told the investigators that “Tom ... always has me pass a message to the Official’s [sic] that he likes the balls at the minimum permissible PSI of 12.5, ... I know this is what Tom wants, and I have been personally told by him of the ball weight preference.”
-I take it that, based on your use of “sic” that this was this a written statement? If so, why was he submitting written statements? Can we see a copy of this, and all other testimony? If not, why not?
Also, would you please explain the logic, which is repeated in the Wells Report, that because Tom Brady has expressed a preference for 12.50 PSI footballs, that he must actually like them below that level? On what evidence do you base this conclusion?
“Mr. McNally left the Officials' Locker Room with the Patriots’ footballs and went into a bathroom where he remained, behind a locked door, for approximately one minute and forty seconds.”
-Would you please explain to me how it is strange that a man went into a one-person bathroom and locked the door? Do you leave the door unlocked when you use a one-person bathroom? Can you find me anyone who does?
“Mr. McNally’s unannounced removal of the footballs from the locker room was a substantial breach of protocol, one that Mr. Anderson had never before experienced.”
-…and if this were a hearing for Mr. McNally, that would be interesting information. But it isn’t. And why do you use the word “protocol” instead of “rule”? Is it because it’s not an actual rule? By the way, was Mr. McNally, or anyone else in the history of the league, ever notified in writing, trained or tested on this “protocol”?
“he had not engaged in similar conduct in the games that they had worked at Gillette Stadium.”
-In other words, this has never happened before. Correct?
“Fifth, based on a complaint from the Colts during the first half of the game, which echoed concerns that the Colts had expressed on the day before the game…”
-“Concerns that the Colts expressed on the day before the game”, which you failed to notify anyone about…why?
“New England’s footballs were tested at halftime; all were below the prescribed air pressure range as measured on each of two gauges. Four of Indianapolis's footballs were tested at halftime; all were within the prescribed air pressure range on at least one of the two gauges.”
-Why weren’t the Colts investigated? Why did you dismiss the below-standard measurements for their footballs, especially in light of the fact that you didn’t measure all of the Colts’ balls? Where did the “at least one of two gauges” standard come from?
“These communications between Mr. Brady and Mr. Jastremski were their first significant cellphone communications (calls or texts) for at least the prior six months. Mr. Brady thought they would have spoken by phone no more than once or twice during the prior six months. Neither Mr. Brady nor Mr. Jastremski could recall exchanging any text messages during the prior six months. And Mr. Jastremski was clear that he had never before met with Mr. Brady in “the QB room.” This pattern of multiple conversations and text messages continued on January 20 and 21.”
-Another weak allegation copy-pasted from the Wells Report. Could you explain to me why phone calls and text messages (which you have copies of, from Jastremski’s phone, and which contain no smoking guns) are automatic proof of guilt? The Patriots had advanced to the Super Bowl. Brady’s friend and equipment manager was being implicated in a story that had erupted into a huge media firestorm. Are you saying they had nothing else to talk about except their supposed guilt? Even if they were discussing the case, how can you conclude that they were discussing their so-called guilt?
“Mr. Brady, through his attorneys, declined to provide the investigators with access to highly relevant electronic information, such as emails and text messages.”
-Has any player, in the history of the NFL, ever handed over a personal cell phone in connection with an investigation of himself?
By the way, it’s come to MY attention that neither Roger Goodell, nor any other NFL employee, handed over their personal cell phones during the Robert Mueller investigation. Why? This investigation involved allegations that an NFL employee illegally colluded with law enforcement officials to get a copy of the Ray Rice video. It’s pretty obvious that any employee doing this would not be dumb enough to conduct such negotiations over a work cell phone, and yet work cell phones are all that Robert Mueller examined. Why are you demanding Brady’s cell phone, yet giving yourself and your colleagues a free pass in this area?
Ted Wells says he proved his case without the cell phone. Why do you need it so badly? Is it just the principle of the matter? Then why didn’t you punish Stephen Gostkowski, who also refused to hand over his cell phone?
By the way again—why did Gostkowski fail to hand over his cell phone? According to Ted Wells, Gostkowski is completely innocent. So why?
On Page 1, and elsewhere in your document, you state that Brady provided you with electronic records. Why do you now find fault with his previous attempt to do so?
“He did so despite the very substantial protections offered by the investigators to maintain the privacy of his personal information. On this basis, as well as the Wells Report's conclusion that Mr. Brady’s denials of involvement in the tampering scheme were not credible, I found that Mr. Brady had failed to cooperate with the investigation.”
- Did these “very substantial protections” include guarantees of privacy, including the promise of a full investigation of any leaks coming from the NFL offices? Did they include penalty clauses for any unauthorized leaks of Brady’s information?
By the way, has the NFL ever investigated a leak from its own office? Has any NFL employee ever been punished for media leaks? Does the NFL even have a policy for internal employees regarding leaks?
“As noted above, on June 18, 2015, shortly before the hearing and nearly four months after the investigators had first requested information from his cellphones, Mr. Brady’s counsel submitted correspondence and other materials indicating that the cellphone 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.”
-You already have cell phone data from Jastremski and McNally, Brady’s alleged co-conspirators. You have reported extensively on the communications between Brady and Jastremski based on what was recovered from Jastremski’s phone. You have also examined the cell phones of Dave Schoenfeld, Berj Najarian, and other Patriots employees and found nothing of interest. The Wells Report clearly states the opinion that no other Patriots personnel other than Jastremski, McNally, and Brady knew anything about this “scheme”. Brady mentioned absolutely nothing whatsoever to Jastremski or McNally about a plot to deflate footballs; who do you think he was talking to about it?
“…based on what Mr. Brady and his counsel described as his ordinary practice, gave his old cellphone to his assistant to be destroyed—on or about March 6, 2015, the very day that he met with Mr. Wells and his team to be questioned about the tampering allegations.”
-Why do you think this date is significant? Brady could have stuck his cell phone in a safe and locked it up if he wanted to hide it from the world. The phone wasn’t under subpoena. It wasn’t like Wells was going to wrestle it from his hands.
“…neither Mr. Brady nor his counsel ever advised Mr. Wells that the cellphone that Mr. Brady had used during the key time period had been destroyed.”
-Again, you assume that Brady’s personal property is any of Ted Wells’ – or your – business. It’s not.
“During the four months that Mr. Brady used that cellphone, he exchanged nearly 10,000 text messages with a wide range of individuals.”
-…which you know because of information provided to you by Tom Brady. Who you still accuse of not cooperating.
“It includes text messages between Mr. Jastremski and Mr. McNally in which Mr. McNally refers to himself as “the deflator”
-Big fat guy with a bloated belly uses the word “deflate” and you can’t understand it. Try Google.
“…that expressly refer to inflation and deflation of footballs and “needles” in the context of deflating footballs”
-All of the messages came after the 10/16/2015 game, during which the Wells Report admits that the footballs were grossly OVER-inflated. By the way, how did the footballs get over-inflated during the Jets game, if “The Deflator” was on duty?
Please show me a reference where McNally or Jastremski specifically refer to deflating footballs. You’re reaching.
“Mr. McNally’s requests for cash, shoes, clothing and items autographed by Mr. Brady.”
-Brady signs memorabilia for employees just about every day. He’s never refused a request in his entire career. Try again.
“…cannot be fully explained by environmental factors or scientific principles such as the Ideal Gas Law.”
-Check out emailwagon.blogspot.com/2015/06/top-5-myths-of-wells-report-blown-up.html . Exponent committed gross errors in their analysis. Once these errors are corrected, none of the Patriots’ footballs are below the expected pressure range per the Ideal Gas Law.
“This finding is buttressed by the opinion of Professor Marlow, whom I found to be highly credible at the hearing, and who testified that he “was highly impressed with the level of detail, thought, planning and execution” of Exponent’s work…”
-Marlow put his name on the report. His name was on it before it was released, and before any third parties examined and completely debunked all of its major conclusions. By then it was too late to reverse his position. Marlow had no option but to double down and give a full-throated endorsement.
Why do you care how credible he was? Did the report stand up to scrutiny, or didn’t it? If a “credible” man told you 2+2=5, would you believe him?
“…that it was “really a first-class piece of work”; and that “the conclusions are correct.” When viewed as part of the complete evidentiary record, Exponent’s conclusions support my finding that the deflation of the footballs was the result of human tampering.”
-A “first-class piece of work” that used the same 12.50 starting PSIs for both gauges, even though the Wells Report itself states they differ by 0.38 PSI, and which simulated a torrential downpour with a couple of squirts from a hand-held spray bottle at 15-minute intervals.
“Neither Mr. Jastremski nor Mr. McNally appeared as a witness at the appeal hearing. At the close of the hearing, the parties were asked whether the record should be held open to permit testimony from these two individuals, so that I could directly evaluate their credibility, before making a decision on the appeal.”
-McNally was questioned three times by the NFL, and then was questioned for seven hours by four attorneys from Ted Wells’ firm. Jastremski was also questioned multiple times on the record.
And by the way, why do you need to “directly evaluate their credibility”, when later in the document, you say “most of their statements to the investigators are not credible, as the Paul Weiss investigators found.” If most of their statements are not credible, then you’ve already assessed their credibility.
“Mr. Brady described Mr. Jastremski as a “friend” and both would presumably have firsthand knowledge of the facts relating to Mr. Brady’s denials and other aspects of his testimony.”
-So Ted Wells’ team couldn’t break Jastremski, but Roger Goodell was going to?
“Further, as noted in the Wells Report, there are important topics about which Mr. McNally has not been interviewed…”
-Ted Wells, who you designated to investigate this issue, agreed in writing to interview Jim McNally ONCE, since he had already been interviewed three times by the NFL. He got that one interview, with four attorneys, for seven hours. Perhaps he should have negotiated better terms for himself, but he did not. The Patriots are not under any obligation to produce either of these employees for additional interviews that were not agreed upon beforehand.
“I have drawn upon my experience of more than thirty years with the National Football League, including nearly nine years as Commissioner.”
-Did you “draw upon” your previous performance in the past four discipline cases, all of which were overturned by neutral third parties?
“The NFLPA and Mr. Brady also did not dispute the finding in the Wells Report that, based on experiments conducted by Exponent, this period was more than enough time for Mr. McNally to have released air from each of the Patriots' footballs.”
-It was also more than enough time to take a piss.
“I have carefully considered Dean Snyder's testimony, along with that of three experts called by the Management Council, all of whom had been involved in the underlying scientific and engineering analysis reflected in the Wells Report: Dr. Robert Caligiuri of Exponent, an expert in mechanical and materials engineering; Dr. Duane Steffey of Exponent, an expert in statistics; and Professor Marlow of Princeton.”
-That’s a lot of brain power. Did any of these geniuses explain to you the decision to buy 50 Non-Logo Gauges at sporting goods stores, compare them to Anderson’s Non-Logo gauge, then proudly proclaim that they read similarly?
“I find that the full extent of the decline in pressure cannot be explained by environmental, physical or other natural factors. Instead, at least a substantial part of the decline was the result of tampering.”
-I find that you are full of shit.
Only three Patriot footballs were below the expected range per the Ideal Gas Law, and those were only short by an average of 0.29 PSI. Did McNally only tamper with three balls?
How much air did McNally let out, Roger? And can a human being even detect such small differences in pressure?
“In reaching this conclusion, I took into account Dean Snyder's opinion that the Exponent analysis had ignored timing, i.e., the fact that the Patriots’ footballs, which were tested first, had less time to warm at halftime than did the Colts' footballs. Dr. Caligiuri and Dr. Steffey, however, both explained how timing was, in fact, taken into account in both their experimental and statistical analysis; they concluded, based on physical experiments, that timing of the measurements did have an effect on the pressure, but that timing in and of itself could not account for the full extent of the pressure declines that the Patriots' game balls experienced.”
-Did the good Doctors give you an estimate of how much of the difference in timing did account for? Looking at the correct figures, there is only 0.65 PSI difference in the pressure losses between the teams’ balls, and that’s before the adjustment for the timing of the measurements. I’m pretty sure even you would not be able to claim tampering if the difference was, say, less than 0.20 PSI, so all we would need is a 0.46 figure for the timing differential, and Exponent has no case. So what was their estimate? Oh, they didn’t give you one! What a surprise.
“I also considered Dean Snyder's other two “key findings,” as well as the arguments summarized in the NFLPA's post-hearing brief, including criticisms of the steps taken in the Officials' Locker Room at halftime to measure and record the pressure of the game balls.'”
-What were these two key findings? Why so shy?
“I was more persuaded, however, by the testimony of Dr. Caligiuri, Dr. Steffey, and Professor Marlow and the fact that the conclusions of their statistical analysis were confirmed by the simulations and other experiments conducted by Exponent. Those simulations and other experiments were described by Professor Marlow as a “first-class piece of work.””
-Was it a “first class piece of work,” Roger? It must have been, because you’ve said it twice already. Not only are you copying directly from the Wells Report; you even copied their habit of repeating themselves!
What statistical analysis are you referring to? The one that was debunked by AEI (and The Sports Police)?
“On these issues, the testimony of Professor Marlow, who had been retained by the Paul Weiss investigators to evaluate, critique and second-guess Exponent’s work plan and conclusions, was especially persuasive and credible. Professor Marlow described his role as that of the “designated skeptic.” His endorsement of Exponent's conclusions and his rebuttal of Dean Snyder's criticisms carried substantial weight.”
-His endorsement of Exponent’s conclusions, which were subsequently debunked by everyone who read them?
“It bears emphasis, however, that my finding of tampering with the game balls is not based solely on the Exponent study and the testimony of the scientific experts, but instead on consideration of all of the evidence in the record, including the conduct, text messages, and other communications discussed in both the Wells Report and at the hearing.”
-Again, copy-pasting from the Wells Report. Why, exactly, did it take you a month to respond, Roger? Didn’t somebody tell you that you can use CTRL-C and CTRL-V?
And BTW, you’ve painted yourself into a corner just as Ted Wells did. You, on the one hand, claim to have an airtight case, and in the same breath kvetch that Brady wouldn’t share the “critical” information from his cell phone. Did you prove your case, or didn’t you? If so, you didn’t need his cell phone, and if not, you shouldn’t be punishing him.
“This full record establishes that the reduction in the pressure of the Patriots footballs was due at least in substantial part to tampering.”
-How much pressure was reduced due to tampering? Why no numbers here, Roger? You’re absolutely positive that it’s true, but not positive enough to put a number on it.
“'There was argument at the hearing about which of two pressure gauges Mr. Anderson used to measure the pressure in the game balls prior to the game. The NFLPA contended, and Dean Snyder opined, that Mr. Anderson had used the so-called logo gauge. On this issue, I find unassailable the logic of the Wells Report and Mr. Wells's testimony that the non-logo gauge was used because otherwise neither the Colts' balls nor the Patriots' balls, when tested by Mr. Anderson prior to the game, would have measured consistently with the pressures at which each team had set their footballs prior to delivery to the game officials, 13 and 12.5 psi, respectively. Mr. Wells's testimony was confirmed by that of Dr. Caligiuri and Professor Marlow. As Professor Marlow testified, “There’s ample evidence that the non-logo gauge was used.””
-I’m beginning to think Roger and Professor Marlow have something going on! Isn’t it cute how he keeps quoting him?
So you find the logic “unassailable”, do you, Roger? “Otherwise, neither the Colts’ balls nor the Patriots’ balls would have measured consistently with the pressures at which each team set their footballs prior to delivery to game officials.”
Allow me to translate. The Patriots set their balls at 12.50 before the game, using a gauge that belonged to them. The Colts set their balls at 13.00 before the game, using their gauge. They then brought their footballs to Anderson, who used one of his two gauges to check the pressures of all the balls, and his readings matched those of the two teams. This means that the gauge used by Anderson read similarly to the gauges used by both teams.
Exponent could have solved this very easily by simply getting one or both of the teams’ gauges and testing them alongside Anderson’s gauges, to determine which one matched. But not only did they fail to do so; they only even mentioned the Patriots’ gauge once in passing (in a footnote), and did not mention the Colts’ gauge at all.
Instead, Exponent went out to sporting goods stores, bought “multiple dozens” of Non-Logo Gauges, tested them alongside Anderson’s Non-Logo Gauge, and then concluded that, since the Non-Logo Gauge read so similarly to all of the “test gauges” (which were really just dozens of copies of itself), that it must also have read similarly to both of the teams’ gauges. Even though no one knows what type of gauges the teams used.
All you are really saying here is, “It must have been Non-Logo, because Logo would not have read similarly to the teams’ gauges.” How do you know this? Tell me Roger, what is this “ample evidence” you speak of?
“*For similar reasons, I reject the arguments advanced in the AEI Report. The testimony provided by the Exponent witnesses and Professor Marlow demonstrated that none of the arguments presented in that report diminish or undermine the reliability of Exponent’s conclusions.”
-So the entire statistical analysis of the Wells Report is crap, but that didn’t undermine the reliability of Exponent’s conclusions. Wow.
“Mr. Wells testified that Professor Marlow was expressly engaged as a “double-check” on the work performed by Exponent. He further testified, and Dr. Caligiuri confirmed, that all of the experts who participated in the investigation were instructed to act as if they were “courtappointed” experts and to provide “objective science.””
-So why didn’t they?
“the unusual pattern of communication between Mr. Brady and Mr. Jastremski in the days following the AFC Championship Game cannot readily be explained as unrelated to conversations about the alleged tampering of the game balls.”
-Did you examine Brady and Jastremski’s pattern of communication prior to the last Super Bowl the Patriots were in?
Seriously dude, are you trying to tell us you know what they were talking about?? And even if you did, why does talking about it automatically make them guilty? Do you think Richard Jewel talked to his lawyers after he was accused?
““Dave will be picking your brain later about it. He's not accusing me or anyone. Trying to get to the bottom of it. He knows it’s unrealistic you did it yourself.””
“The sharp contrast between the almost complete absence of communications through the AFC Championship Game and the extraordinary volume of communications during the three days following the AFC Championship Game undermines any suggestion that the communications addressed only preparation of footballs for the Super Bowl rather than the tampering allegations and their anticipated responses to inquiries about the tampering.”
-Again, Swami Goodell knows what they were talking about. And again, even IF they were discussing the allegations, why does that automatically make them guilty of what they’re accused of?
“Mr. Brady’s phone bills, provided by his agent shortly before the hearing, indicate two short calls (3 minutes duration in total) between Mr. Brady and Mr. Jastremski on October 11, 2014”
-Phone bills, provided by the uncooperative Tom Brady?
And oh, by the way, I see Commissioner Goodell has adopted the Wells Report’s habit of burying the good stuff in the footnotes, where no one will ever find it.
“There were multiple, lengthy phone conversations between Mr. McNally and Mr. Jastremski over the next several days.”
-I noticed you didn’t suggest that this was out of the ordinary for them. McNally and Jastremski spoke regularly all the time. If you don’t know this, you should.
“In short, the available electronic evidence, coupled with information compiled in the investigators’ interviews, leads me to conclude that Mr. Brady knew about, approved of, consented to, and provided inducements and rewards in support of a scheme by which, with Mr. Jastremski's support, Mr. McNally tampered with the game balls.”
-Apparently you know more than the Wells Report, which could only muster the cojones to say that Brady was “at least generally aware” that there was “more probably than not” a scheme to deflate footballs.
“In addition, investigators requested the production of “text messages or other communications between Mr. Brady, John Jastremski, Dave Schoenfeld and Jim McNally from September 1, 2014 to the present regardless of subject, as well as a log of the above calls between Mr. Brady and those individuals since January 17, 2015.””
-Roger, buddy, why don’t you read the Wells Report? John Jastremski, Dave Schoenfeld, and Jim McNally all provided their cell phone data to the NFL. If Brady communicated with them, you already know about it. In fact, you have, in some cases, mentioned it earlier in this document.
“he offered no explanation of why, on March 5 or 6, 2015, he replaced the cellphone that he had been using since November 6, 2014. (Mr. Brady testified that he did not have a schedule for periodically changing cellphones.)”
-How about this: “I’m a rich SOB with more money than God. I felt like getting a new phone.”
“Had Mr. Brady followed what he and his attorneys called his “ordinary practice,” one would expect that the cellphone that he had used prior to November 6, 2014 would have been destroyed long before Mr. Maryman was hired. No explanation was provided for this anomaly.”
-I’m pretty damn tired of all this innuendo, all of these “A-HA!” moments that supposedly prove something. People are not always flawlessly consistent in what they do 100% of the time, and when they are not, it’s not automatic proof of wrongdoing.
I also have a problem with lines like, “No explanation was provided for this anomaly”. What were his exact words, Roger? When it suits you, you quote testimony; when it doesn’t, you paraphrase. What was the question, and what was the answer?
“"After the hearing and after the submission of post-hearing briefs, Mr. Brady's certified agents offered to provide a spreadsheet that would identify all of the individuals with whom Mr. Brady had exchanged text messages during that period; the agents suggested that the League could contact those individuals and request production of any relevant text messages that they retained. Aside from the fact that, under Article 46, Section 2(f) of the CBA, such information could and should have been provided long before the hearing, the approach suggested in the agents’ letter—which would require tracking down numerous individuals and seeking consent from each to retrieve from their cellphones detailed information about their text message communications during the relevant period—is simply not practical.”
-Another footnote gem, and this one is huge. So basically, what you’re telling me now is that you refused a list of all the people Brady communicated with during that period. You keep throwing around the 10,000-text-message figure, but certainly they weren’t sent to 10,000 different people. Why didn’t you give us a count of how many “numerous individuals” we’re talking about here? Didn’t you just pay a law firm $5 million to investigate this stuff? Why not throw them a couple hundred thousand more to track down the cell phone data you’re looking for? Unless you don’t want to lose your “Brady won’t cooperate” ace in the hole.
“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…”
-It’s not “evidence” just because you say it is. You don’t know what was on that phone. You know the full extent of his communications with Jastremski, McNally and Schoenfeld (he had none with McNally or Schoenfeld), and he said nothing that could even remotely be considered incriminating. So he wasn’t dumb enough to give himself away when talking with his co-conspirators, but he was dumb enough to do it when talking to someone else? Even though you have no idea who that someone else even is?
“Neither the NFL nor any NFL member club has subpoena power or other means to compel production of relevant materials or testimony. Nonetheless, the NFL is entitled to expect and insist upon the cooperation of owners, League employees, club employees and players in a workplace investigation and to impose sanctions when such cooperation is not forthcoming, when evidence is hidden, fabricated, or destroyed, when witnesses are intimidated or not produced upon reasonable request, or when individuals do not provide truthful information.”
-Again, you assume, with no basis, that this phone contained important information about this case. I don’t care that Ted Wells asked for it. Brady already said he wasn’t handing it over. It was his cell phone and he had the right to destroy it whenever he wanted, and this destruction is not proof of some nefarious conspiracy against you. Stop watching the X Files.
And Brady did cooperate. He spent an entire day being interrogated by Ted Wells and his team of lawyers. He patiently answered every question. And yet you spit on him because he won’t hand over a cell phone that YOU think contains evidence, but which probably does not. And even at that, Brady has offered you a full list of everyone he corresponded with, and you have refused.
“The evidence fully supports my findings that (1) Mr. Brady participated in a scheme to tamper with the game balls after they had been approved by the game officials for use in the AFC Championship Game and (2) Mr. Brady willfully obstructed the investigation by, among other things, affirmatively arranging for destruction of his cellphone knowing that it contained potentially relevant information that had been requested by the investigators. All of this indisputably constitutes conduct detrimental to the integrity of, and public confidence in, the game of professional football.”
-What about lying about not seeing the Ray Rice video? Does that constitute conduct detrimental to the integrity of football?
The evidence doesn’t “fully support” anything. You’re reaching. You can’t prove a damn thing.
“*I do not accept the argument, advanced by NFLPA counsel on Mr. Brady’s behalf, that in failing to provide information from his phones to the investigators, Mr. Brady was acting on the advice of counsel. Even if I were inclined to accept that argument, there is no evidence that Mr. Brady’s counsel advised him to destroy his phone and thereby preclude recovery of potentially relevant electronic information exchanged during the key time period.”
-How can you “not accept” an argument, from Brady’s counsel, about what his counsel advised him to do?? What do you mean there is “no evidence” that they advised him to destroy his phone? Have you ever heard of attorney-client privilege? What makes you think they would tell you if they advised Brady to do such a thing?
By the way, don’t think we don’t notice how you keep dropping that word “potentially” into everything about this phone. Because you have no idea what was on it.
“As noted above, I am very much aware of, and believe in, the need for consistency in discipline for similarly situated players.”
-Oh, absolutely! Here’s my favorite example of your consistency:
Punching your fiancée in the face: 2 games
Punching your fiancée in the face on video: Indefinite suspension
“No prior conduct detrimental proceeding is directly comparable to this one.”
-No, because you’ve never had a proceeding on such a ridiculous issue before now, and when San Diego was caught doctoring footballs, and lying about it, and concealing evidence to boot, all you did was issue a fine. And yes, I’ll be mentioning that again, because you apparently forgot to mention them in your report.
“Here we have a player's uncoerced participation in a scheme to violate a competitive rule that goes to the integrity of the game. Unlike any other conduct detrimental proceeding of which I am aware, and certainly unlike any cited by either party, this scheme involved undermining efforts by game officials to ensure compliance with League rules.”
-If a DB grabs a WR’s jersey at an angle where the official can’t see it, isn’t he “undermining efforts by game officials to ensure compliance with league rules”? And, unlike this case, isn’t there indisputable video proof whenever this happens?
“The scheme, which sought to secure a competitive advantage on the playing field, was coupled with not only (i) a failure to cooperate with the League’s investigation, but also (ii) destruction of potentially relevant evidence with knowledge that the evidence had been sought in the investigation.”
-Is it just me, or does Roger get more and more confident about this “scheme” as he goes along?
“The bounty program was largely developed and administered by the coaches, and the pressure on the players extended to “obstruction of the original investigation [which was] directed by Saints’ officials.” There is no evidence of any such pressure on Mr. Brady here.”
-You mean that bounty program in which the Saints were actually well below the league average in injuring their opponents, and in which Tagliabue reviewed your decision and basically said you suck?
Also, no one claims there was any pressure on Brady. Not even Ted Wells said that. Why do you bring it up?
“Mr. Jastremski warned Mr. Brady that Mr. Schoenfeld would be asking him about the condition of the footballs that had been used in the AFC Championship Game.”
-“Just giving you a heads up” Not much of a warning, was it? Again trying to assign ominous undertones to everything. Give me your evidence and leave the editorial BS out.
“The conduct at issue here is also very different from the ball-warming incident in Minnesota last year, in which a Carolina Panthers ball attendant was observed warming a ball on the Vikings’ sideline; there was no evidence of any intentional attempt to violate or circumvent the rules, no player involvement, and no effort to conceal the ball attendant’s conduct. As Mr. Vincent testified, the ball never got into the game and the matter “was addressed immediately.””
-Let me make sure I understand. You use the “No employee / ball boy / low-level peon would ever do anything to game balls without the QB knowing” logic to punish Tom Brady, but when a Carolina ball boy was trying to warm balls that were to be used by his QB, there was “no player involvement”? So this lowly ball boy just took it upon himself to warm the balls, without anyone telling him to, and the quarterback knew nothing about it? Wasn’t the QB standing on the same sideline?
Did you conduct an investigation, Roger? Did you ask the quarterback point blank if he ordered the ball boy to warm the footballs? Did you “collect video evidence” from the game and have forensic experts estimate the distance between the QB and the hand warmers, to determine if it was realistic that the quarterback didn’t see what was going on? Did you demand access to his cell phone and download all of his text messages to see if he spoke to anyone about this? Did you interview past Panthers opponents to see if anything anomalous had taken place in previous cold games?
I noticed you completely forgot the most relevant example: San Diego’s stickum incident. This was an example in which team personnel were caught with towels covered in stickum, which is illegal in the NFL and is not supposed to be anywhere near the sidelines, and when the NFL asked about it, the team concealed the towels and lied to the league officials. Here we have:
a) A deliberate attempt to circumvent the rules;
b) A situation in which common sense tells us the quarterback either ordered this to be done, or would soon find out about it, since the footballs would be covered in stickum;
c) An attempt to cover up the infraction;
d) Lying to league officials.
Effectively, this case matches up very well with everything you accuse Tom Brady of, and, unlike the Brady case, there is incontrovertible evidence (i.e., the towels with the stickum on them). The penalty assessed: $20,000. No suspensions. No investigation. Nothing else.
You had no clever excuse for how that was different, so you simply left this example out. Not to worry—rest assured, Brady’s team will raise the issue in court, and you’ll have to answer for it then.
“The conduct at issue here is also very different from the incident involving the Jets' equipment staff member who “attempted to use” unapproved equipment in plain view of the officials to prepare kicking balls prior to a 2009 game against the Patriots. There was no evidence of any player involvement.”
-Again, another rogue employee preparing kicking balls illegally and the kicker who would be kicking the balls, and who undoubtedly told this employee exactly how he wanted the balls prepared, knew nothing about it. Obviously you waited until the last half of the report to sneak the really crappy stuff in. You’re ridiculous.
“In terms of the appropriate level of discipline, the closest parallel of which I am aware is the collectively bargained discipline imposed for a first violation of the policy governing performance enhancing drugs; steroid use reflects an improper effort to secure a competitive advantage in, and threatens the integrity of, the game.”
-The difference here is that a positive drug test is incontrovertible proof that the rules have been broken. There is no such proof here, so the analogy fails.
“The four-game suspension imposed on Mr. Brady is fully consistent with, if not more lenient than, the discipline ordinarily imposed for the most comparable effort by a player to secure an improper competitive advantage and (by using a masking agent) to cover up the underlying violation.”
-First off, let me ask you a question, Commissioner. How is a ball that is slightly below 12.50 PSI a competitive advantage? Has there been any study that you are aware of that proves that this ball is easier to throw or catch? That is the conventional wisdom, but has it actually been proven? And even if it has, why is there an upper limit of 13.50 PSI? Are balls above 13.50 easier to throw and catch also? How can you be so sure these tiny puffs of air provide such a competitive edge? Is a human being even capable of detecting a PSI difference of less than 0.50 PSI?
Let’s assume for a second (though there is zero proof of this) that Tom Brady’s preferred inflation level is 12.00 PSI. We know for certain that Andrew Luck’s preferred level is 13.00, which means that, if we enforce the rules and keep all footballs between 12.5 and 13.5, Andrew Luck can have a football at his preferred level, and Brady cannot. If, hypothetically, Brady lets 0.50 PSI out of his footballs to bring them down to 12.00, both men would then have footballs at their ideal level. How is this an unfair advantage for Tom Brady?
“he had taken steps in the past to call the relevant provision to the attention of game officials”
-Why would Brady call the officials’ attention to this rule if he knew he was going to break it? Why would he arouse the officials’ attention this way?
“The four-game suspension is also consistent with the suspension recently imposed on the General Manager of the Cleveland Browns for a first violation of a league rule intended to maintain fair competition and the integrity of the game. The length of that suspension reflected, and was explicitly mitigated by, the General Manager's self-reporting and transparency in acknowledging wrongdoing. There are no such mitigating factors here.”
-One is a General Manager who has no game-day responsibilities, and does not belong to the union; the other is the greatest QB in the history of professional football, and is the most important player on his team. Yep, same thing.
“Moreover, the conduct at issue here—specifically the willful destruction of potentially relevant evidence—goes well beyond Mr. Brady’s failure to respond to or fully cooperate with the investigation.
-This argument potentially smells like a dirty diaper.
By the way, the word “potentially” appears seven (7) times in this document.
“Indeed, a player of Mr. Brady's tenure in the league and sophistication, and who was represented by highly experienced counsel (both personal and NFLPA-engaged), cannot credibly contend that he believed that he could, without consequences, destroy his cellphone on or about the day of his interview with the investigators when he knew in advance of the interview that the investigators were seeking the cellphone for the evidence that it contained.”
-And, of course, a player of Brady’s sophistication also wouldn’t be stupid enough to send text messages about a conspiracy to deflate footballs. And yet you cling to the absurd belief that there is some kind of smoking gun on his cell phone. Which you have no right to.
“And the belated attempt by his representatives to remedy this failure to cooperate—ultimately by asking the NFL to track down nearly 10,000 text messages sent to or received from a substantial number of other individuals—is simply insufficient. The NFLPA and Mr. Brady’s representatives have identified no instance in or outside the NFL in which such conduct has been deemed satisfactory cooperation with an investigation.”
-No one asked you to “track down nearly 10,000 text messages”. Brady’s representatives offered to provide you a list of every person he communicated with during the period in question. You fail to provide a count of how many people are included in that list, and instead repeat the 10,000 figure (which, by the way, you repeat four times in this document) for maximum dramatic effect. Tell me, Roger, did you write this, or did your attorneys write it for you?
And why is it okay for Ted Wells to spend 103 days and 5 million dollars on a 243-page report, but following up with Tom Brady’s text buddies is too much for you to handle?
Lastly, why is it Brady’s job to “identify an instance in which such conduct has been deemed satisfactory cooperation”? I thought every situation was different?
“First, as made clear in my opinion of June 22, 2015, I did not delegate my authority as Commissioner to determine conduct detrimental or to impose appropriate discipline. I was directly involved in the assessment of Mr. Brady’s conduct that led to his suspension and in determination of the suspension itself; I concurred in Troy Vincent’s recommendation and authorized him to communicate to the club and to Mr. Brady the discipline imposed under my authority as Commissioner. Second, there was no delegation of any authority to the investigators.”
-So basically, you played a key role in the disciplinary decision, and then served as an arbitrator to your own decision.
And if you didn’t delegate any authority to the investigators, then why didn’t you investigate the leaks coming from your office after Ted Wells failed to do so?
“Nor is there any basis for the NFLPA's suggestion that the Wells Report was not the product of an independent investigation.” The Report itself makes clear, and the hearing testimony of Mr. Wells confirmed, that the investigation and report represent solely and entirely the findings and conclusions of the Wells investigatory team.”
-Yes, we know that the Ted Wells’ Report was independent, because Ted Wells told us so. Because, you know, he totally would have confessed to us if it wasn’t independent.
I accuse you, Commissioner, of crafting your decisions based on the effects they will have on your own personal popularity. If you don’t live in New England, you probably hate Tom Brady and can’t wait to see him suspended so that other teams will have a chance to win. There is hatred, yes, hatred, towards Brady and the Patriots across much of the country, and there will be great joy if his suspension holds—not to mention a nice bump in popularity for any commissioner who delivers such a punishment. You lack the fortitude to defy public opinion and live only to justify your own existence for another year—and another paycheck.