New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's agent released a statement reacting to Brady's Deflategate suspension on Monday, calling the discipline "ridiculous" and saying it has "no legitimate basis."
The NFL announced on Monday that Brady has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2015 season for conduct detrimental to the integrity of the league. The Patriots were also fined $1 million and will lose their first-round draft pick in 2016 and their fourth-round draft pick in 2017.
Brady's agent, Don Yee, said the quarterback will appeal the ruling and harshly criticized the Ted Wells report for the second time in a week. From Yee's statement:
"In my opinion, this outcome was pre-determined; there was no fairness in the Wells investigation whatsoever. There is no evidence that Tom directed footballs be set at pressures below the allowable limits. In fact, the evidence shows Tom clearly emphasized that footballs be set at pressures within the rules.
"[...]We will appeal, and if the hearing officer is completely independent and neutral, I am very confident the Wells Report will be exposed as an incredibly frail exercise in fact-finding and logic. The NFL has a well-documented history of making poor disciplinary decisions that often are overturned when truly independent and neutral judges or arbitrators preside, and a former federal judge has found the commissioner has abused his discretion in the past, so this outcome does not surprise me. Sadly, today's decision diminishes the NFL as it tells its fans, players and coaches that the games on the field don’t count as much as the games played on Park Avenue."
The Deflategate report by independent investigator Wells was released last week. The report found that "it is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules" and that it is probable that Brady "was at least generally aware of... the release of air from Patriots game balls."
In a previously scheduled appearance last week that occurred after the release of the Wells report, Brady said the Deflategate scandal did not "taint" the Patriots' Super Bowl XLIX victory.
Last Thursday, Brady's agent said the Wells report has "significant and tragic flaws." He also said it is "more probable than not" that the league and the Colts conspired on a sting operation.
Brady's father, Tom Brady Sr., told USA Today that the Deflategate scandal was "Framegate right from the beginning" after the Wells report was released.
- Molly Geary