Sus­pen­sion up­held

NFL com­mis­sioner Good­ell cit­ing de­stroyed cell­phone in Brady football de­ci­sion


The com­mis­sioner pointed to con­cealed ev­i­dence. The team de­scribed it as a folly. And the agent added sham to the lex­i­con of “De­flate­gate.”

Then the play­ers’ union said it would take it all to court.

Tom Brady’s four-game sus­pen­sion for his role in us­ing un­der­in­flated foot­balls dur­ing the AFC cham­pi­onship game was up­held Tues­day by NFL Com­mis­sioner Roger Good­ell.

Good­ell said the New Eng­land quar­ter­back told an as­sis­tant to de­stroy Brady’s cell­phone on or just be­fore March 6. Brady met with in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tor Ted Wells on that day.

“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,” Good­ell said in his de­ci­sion.

“Dur­ing the four months that the cell­phone was in use, Brady had ex­changed nearly 10,000 text mes­sages, none of which can now be re­trieved from that de­vice.”

Call­ing the ap­peal process “a sham,” Brady’s agent, Don Yee, said Good­ell “failed to en­sure a fair process” in up­hold­ing the quar­ter­back’s four-game sus­pen­sion.

The Pa­tri­ots used the words “folly” and “in­com­pre­hen­si­ble” in their state­ment, then said they “un­equiv­o­cally be­lieve in and sup­port Tom Brady.”

Brady ac­knowl­edged in his tes­ti­mony he was aware of inves- tiga­tors’ re­quest for in­for­ma­tion from the cell­phone be­fore he had it de­stroyed, the ap­peal de­ci­sion said.

Af­ter re­leas­ing the re­port in May, Wells said he had told Brady and Yee he did not need to see his phone and would have ac­cepted a list of com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

Wells’ in­ves­ti­ga­tion had no sub­poena power and Brady was un­der no le­gal obli­ga­tion to co­op­er­ate.

The NFL had some mes­sages from Brady sent to an equip­ment man­ager’s phone, but in- ves­ti­ga­tors wanted to see if Brady’s cell­phone had other mes­sages re­lated to foot­balls.

The four-time Su­per Bowl­win­ning quar­ter­back was sus­pended by NFL ex­ec­u­tive Troy Vin­cent in May fol­low­ing the Wells re­port. The Pa­tri­ots were fined $1 mil­lion and docked a pair of draft picks. The team didn’t ap­peal its penalty, but Brady ap­pealed.

The NFL Play­ers As­so­ci­a­tion said in a state­ment on Tues­day that it would ap­peal in court.

“The NFL re­sorted to a neb­u­lous stan­dard of ’gen­eral aware- ness’ to pred­i­cate a legally un­jus­ti­fied pun­ish­ment,” the union said, adding, “the NFL vi­o­lated the plain mean­ing of the col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ment.”

Mo­ments af­ter an­nounc­ing Good­ell’s de­ci­sion, the league filed ac­tion in U.S. Dis­trict Court in New York against the union, say­ing the NFL com­mis­sioner has the right un­der the labour agree­ment to hand out such dis­ci­pline “for con­duct that he de­ter­mines is detri­men­tal to the in­tegrity of, or public con­fi­dence in, the game of pro­fes­sional football.”


In this Feb. 1 file photo, New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots quar­ter­back Tom Brady warms up be­fore the NFL Su­per Bowl XLIX football game against the Seat­tle Seahawks in Glendale, Ariz.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.