The deflate gate rumor mill can finally rest. At least for now. The NFL has issued its punishment of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Barring the appeals process, Brady won’t play for the first four games of the 2015-2016 NFL season.
It’s official. The NFL has suspended New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for four games of the 2015-2016 season, citing that he was at least “generally aware” of the fact that balls were being intentionally deflated prior the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts last year.
Brady, speaking through his agent, has denied all allegations and has vowed to fight back in the appeals process granted to NFL players. The Patriots, however, will not be able to appeal their punishment, as there is no appeals process for teams. That punishment includes a $1 million fine and the loss of their first-round draft pick in 2016 as well as a fourth-round selection in 2017.
Independent investigator and attorney Ted Wells released a 243-page report, concluding that Brady was in cahoots with equipment assistant John Jastremski and locker room attendant Jim McNally to have the balls underinflated so he could gain a competitive advantage.
The report by Wells concluded that “it is more probable than not” that Brady knew that balls were being tampered with. And the NFL followed through just days later, slapping the Pats with big fines and draft pick losses while ban-hammering their all-star, four-time Super Bowl winning QB for four games.
“Each player, no matter how accomplished and otherwise respected, has an obligation to comply with the rules and must be held accountable for his actions when those rules are violated and the public’s confidence in the game is called into question,” NFL Executive President Troy Vincent wrote in a letter to the team.
While he will be suspended, Brady will be able to still attend practice and play in the preseason games. But Jastremski and McNally have been suspended without pay for an indefinite period of time. If and when they are reinstated, neither will be allowed to come in contact with game balls again.
“We relied on the critical importance of protecting the integrity of the game and the thoroughness and independence of the Wells report,” league commissioner Roger Goodell said.
The report vindicated the coaching staff and team owner Robert Kraft.
“In my opinion, this outcome was predetermined; there was no fairness in the Wells investigation whatsoever,” Don Yee, Brady’s agent, said in a statement. “There is no evidence that Tom directed footballs be set at pressures below the allowable limits.”
The team is siding with their all-star QB, though.
“Tom Brady has our unconditional support. Our belief in him has not wavered,” the team said in a statement to the press.