Earlier this week we reported on the NFL’s verdict in the “deflategate” scandal involving the Indianapolis Colts, the New England Patriots, and a sack of deflated footballs. Following an investigation, the Patriots were fined $1 million and lost their first round draft pick for 2016 and fourth round pick for 2017. Additionally, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was suspended for the first four games of the 2016-2017 season, and locker room attendant Jim McNally and equipment assistant John Jastremski were both suspended without pay, and cannot return to their jobs without the permission of the NFL.
The punishments were rendered based on the contents of the now-famous “Wells report”, which was issued last week and revealed the results of an independent investigation into the footballs used in this year’s AFC Championship game.
Brady today announced that he is appealing the suspension, and the Patriots issued a blow-by-blow response to the Wells report. “The Wells Report in Context” asserts that the findings of the Wells report are “at best, incomplete, incorrect and lack context,” and seeks to “provide additional context for balance and consideration.”
From the New York Times:
The Patriots’ rebuttal says that the N.F.L. prejudged the matter before hiring Wells to do the investigation and that Wells, knowing who paid his bills, essentially tailored his report to fit those prejudged conclusions. At times, the Patriots’ report reads like a counter-plea to a judge or jury, using a higher standard of evidence than that used by Wells, and it could serve as a prelude to a lawsuit.
It questions why the Wells report does not address potential wrongdoing by the league and by the Indianapolis Colts. It seeks to dismiss most of the evidence Wells produced as speculation derived from misinterpretation of facts, and denies, through its own evidence, the very premise that the footballs were underinflated by design.
The Patriots were accused by the Colts of using underinflated footballs in their A.F.C. championship encounter on Jan. 18 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The N.F.L., after doing a preliminary investigation that was sloppy, according to the Patriots and the Wells report, then hired Wells to conduct an independent investigation.
The Patriots note in their rebuttal that Wells cannot be considered neutral since he does extensive business with the league.
The Indianapolis Colts have remained quiet regarding the punishments and resulting appeals. Colts tight end Dwayne Allen spoke briefly about Brady’s appeal, but declined to comment on the investigation itself:
“I had no idea what judgment was going to come down,” Allen said when asked about Brady’s four-game suspension. “As an NFL player rep for my team, we have guys that are going to help him through the appeal process and, again, whatever is just will be just.”
That’s about as much as anybody in Indy’s organization has said since the Wells report implicated Brady and two Patriots employees for deliberating underinflating game balls in January’s AFC championship game — a 45-7 blowout of the Colts in Foxboro.
General manager Ryan Grigson, who tipped off the NFL about the Patriots using illegal game balls, still has not spoken publicly about the investigation or the punishments announced Monday. In addition to Brady’s suspension, the Patriots were fined $1 million and will have to give up a first-round pick next year and a fourth-round pick in 2017.
While Patriots owner Robert Kraft has been outspoken that the penalties were too harsh, the Colts have mostly remained silent.
We’ll post updates on the deflategate scandal as they become available.DONATE
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