Goodell’s gavel has come crashing down. The result: it’s in with Matt Flynn and out for Tom Brady in New England (at least that’s the most current news).
Making a statement this week, the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell let the world know that after five weeks of deliberation, he stands firm on the four game suspension he handed down to Tom Brady in mid-May of this year.
While many were expecting that the suspension would be either reduced to just two games or eliminated, such was not the case. Speculators are now wondering if it is fitting punishment, seeing as Greg Hardy of the Dallas Cowboys was suspended four games for domestic violence, hardly a comparable offense.
Previous to Goodell’s announcement, the NFLPA had announced that it’s ready to take the NFL to federal court if the suspension stands. Whether that happens now or not is entirely up to Tom, according to the NFLPA.
The primary reason why Goodell says he ruled against Tom was after learning that Brady had his cellphone destroyed to mask his involvement in Deflate Gate.
The NFL issued an official statement, and it reads as follows:
“In the opinion informing Brady that his appeal had been denied, Commissioner Goodell emphasized important new information disclosed by Brady and his representatives in connection with the hearing.
On or shortly before March 6, the day that Tom Brady met with independent investigator Ted Wells and his colleagues, Brady directed that the cell phone he had used for the prior four months be destroyed. He did so even though he was aware that the investigators had requested access to text messages and other electronic information that had been stored on that phone.
During the four months that the cell phone was in use, Brady had exchanged nearly 10,000 text messages, none of which can now be retrieved from that device. The destruction of the cell phone was not disclosed until June 18, almost four months after the investigators had first sought electronic information from Brady.
Based on the Wells Report and the evidence presented at the hearing, Commissioner Goodell concluded in his decision that Brady was aware of, and took steps to support, the actions of other team employees to deflate game footballs below the levels called for by the NFL’s Official Playing Rules. The commissioner found that Brady’s deliberate destruction of potentially relevant evidence went beyond a mere failure to cooperate in the investigation and supported a finding that he had sought to hide evidence of his own participation in the underlying scheme to alter the footballs.”
But during the hearing, Brady attested that he destroys his phones every four months or so to protect his privacy (actually reasonable considering how famous he and his wife are). He did it around March 6th, the report says, the same day he met with investigator Ted Wells.
The suspension was appealed by Brady on June 23rd, with over 40 people present, according to the NFLPA.
It stems from the AFC Championship game that pitted the Patriots against the Colts, where the Colts reported that the Pats were using footballs that were deflated below the 12.5 PSI league limit. Since the investigation began, Brady has contested that he had no part in any of it.
Well’s original report following the investigation, which spans over 240 pages, said it was “more probable than not” that Brady was “at least generally aware” of what was going on with two equipment handlers that have been pegged as the ones who deflated the balls (one of which that recently fetched $44k at auction).
The result was Brady being suspended for four games, the Pats being fined $1 million and docked a first-round draft pick as well as an additional draft pick.
When the NFLPA fought back, Goodell said he would controversially oversee a hearing; which was contested as well because he was the one who served the initial punishment and was therefore considered biased by the NFLPA. Patriots Owner Robert Kraft, however, bowed out on May 19th, saying that he just wanted to move on and accept the penalty.
Since the fiasco has commenced, the Pats have sought to replace Brady’s presence in the first four games of this coming season by signing experienced veteran backup quarterback Matt Flynn.
Now the ball is on Tom Brady’s side of the field. He’s still got time to take the NFL to federal court, and the NFLPA has got his back. Whether he will do so or not remains to be seen. But so far, all signs point to: Yes.
With four Super Bowl rings to boot, one can bet that this fighter (and this fight) is not nearly done yet.