Updated with Smith’s information proving correct
As if the DeflateGate saga couldn’t get any odder, it took another turn for the weird Tuesday with an early-morning report that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady destroyed his cellphone — the one on which he allegedly communicated with equipment men about deflating footballs — during the NFL’s investigation.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith served up that steamy take Tuesday, telling Skip Bayless, his partner in bloviation on “First Take,” exactly what he was “hearing” without naming sources or saying that he was actually reporting it. As it turns out, of course, whomever Smith was hearing was spot-on. Brady did destroy his cellphone, which was part of the reason Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld his four-game suspension.
“Skip, remember when we had conversations about the text messages [between Brady and the Patriots’ personnel] and refusing to show it? I’m hearing that Tom Brady actually destroyed his cellphone.”
Of course, that may not completely delete the cellphone trail (especially since the texts could be seen on the recipients’ phones), but Smith was on a roll. Once again, his whisperer was on the money.
“I just heard that Tom Brady’s suspension will likely be upheld. We all recognize that anything’s possible, um, obviously minds can change. But from what I’m hearing, in the next 24-48 hours the NFL will announce that they are upholding the four game suspension against Tom Brady,” he said. “He will serve his four-game suspension. They know and expect the [NFL Players Association] to appeal that decision.”
Smith brought it all back home to that other scandal involving the Patriots.
“In Spygate in 2007, when [Coach] Bill Belichick and the Patriots were fined – apparently there’s some language in that agreement – in that fine that ultimately handed down to him, that if something like this happened again, you’re talking about Bill Belichick being banned. Which, in some folks’ eyes may have facilitated [owner] Robert Kraft showing a willingness to accept the penance and the penalty Roger Goodell handed down to him.”
So…there you go.