Months after the AFC Championship game footballs were discovered to be deflated and months after the Wells Report, which outlined evidence ranging from the footballs' pressure levels to text messages between the equipment managers allegedly charged with tampering with the footballs, the outcome of Patriots QB Tom Brady's appeal has been announced. Playing the role of neutral arbitrator, a controversial decision, Goodell heard Brady's ten-hour appeal last month on June 23 and on July 28th upheld the 4-game suspension against Brady.
Below is an excerpt from a statement issued by the league office:
"NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld today the four-game suspension imposed on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on May 11. Brady's appeal from that discipline was heard for more than ten hours on June 23," the league's statement said.
"In the opinion informing Brady that his appeal had been denied, Commissioner Goodell emphasized important new information disclosed by Brady and his representatives in connection with the hearing.
"On or shortly before March 6, the day that Tom Brady met with independent investigator Ted Wells and his colleagues, Brady directed that the cell phone he had used for the prior four months be destroyed. 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. During the four months that the cell phone was in use, Brady had exchanged nearly 10,000 text messages, none of which can now be retrieved from that device. The destruction of the cell phone was not disclosed until June 18, almost four months after the investigators had first sought electronic information from Brady.
"Based on the Wells Report and the evidence presented at the hearing, Commissioner Goodell concluded in his decision that Brady was aware of, and took steps to support, the actions of other team employees to deflate game footballs below the levels called for by the NFL's Official Playing Rules. The commissioner found that Brady's deliberate destruction of potentially relevant evidence went beyond a mere failure to cooperate in the investigation and supported a finding that he had sought to hide evidence of his own participation in the underlying scheme to alter the footballs."
The next step for Brady will be to take the decision by Goodell and put the decision in the hands of the court. Stay tuned for Brady's availability in the Week 1 matchup.