The NFL offered to reduce New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game Deflategate suspension by “at least 50 percent” before commissioner Roger Goodell upheld the penalty, reports ProFootballTalk.com’s Mike Florio.
The league announced the decision to uphold the suspension on Tuesday, more than a month after Brady’s 10-hour-long appeal on June 23. Brady was suspended in May following accusations he was aware of efforts to deflate footballs prior to the AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.
The NFL, however, was reportedly was willing to cut Brady’s suspension at least in half if he admitted to having knowledge of the activities of Patriots locker room attendant Jim McNally and equipment assistant John Jastremski during the AFC title game; admitted to failing to cooperate with attorney Ted Wells’ investigation; and apologized.
ProFootballTalk.com adds that Brady’s suspension could have been dropped to at least two games with the possibility of reducing it to just one “if he were sufficiently persuasive and profuse in his acceptance of guilt.”
In upholding the suspension, Goodell said in his ruling “the evidence fully supports” allegations that Brady took part in a scheme to tamper with game balls during the Patriots’ AFC title game win over the Colts. Goodell also said Brady “willfully obstructed the investigation” by arranging for his cell phone to be destroyed.
Throughout the investigation, Brady had refused to turn over his phone to NFL investigators who were seeking evidence of communication between Brady, McNally and Jastremski. According to Goodell’s decision, Brady allegedly purchased a new cell phone around March 6, the day he met with Wells during the investigation. Goodell said Brady testified that he habitually destroys his previous phone and SIM card when he purchases a new one; records provided by Brady showed that he gave his old phone to his assistant to be destroyed on or before the day he met with Wells.
Wells’s report was released on May 6, saying, “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 was probable Brady “was at least generally aware of... the release of air from Patriots game balls.”
The NFL Players Association filed an appeal on Brady’s behalf on May 14.
In a statement provided to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Brady’s agent, Done Yee, slammed the appeal process as a “sham.”
The NFLPA also issued a statement saying Goodell’s ruling “did nothing to address the legal deficiencies of due process” and the league was “stuck” with various facts.
- Mike Fiammetta