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Tom Brady’s four-game DeflateGate suspension upheld by Roger Goodell

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension was upheld by NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell on Tuesday following a private investigation into his role in the DeflateGate scandal. (Video: Reuters)
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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has upheld New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for his role in the DeflateGate scandal, according to the NFL. In a statement released by the league office Tuesday afternoon, Goodell stuck with the initial punishment when he received information that Brady destroyed his cellphone.

“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,” said the email from the league. “‎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.”

[Brady’s upheld suspension perfectly exhibits NFL’s shattered disciplinary system]

Ten thousand text messages in four months. The further implication here could be that the appeal process potentially made things worse between Goodell and Brady. The conventional thinking, as is often the case with NFL suspensions, was that it would be reduced. Greg Hardy had his suspension — for a domestic violence accusation, no less — reduced from 10 to four games earlier this offseason. And now that Brady allegedly decided to destroy his phone, he’ll be out the same amount of time.

“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 NFL’s email said.

According to the report, “at the hearing, Mr. Brady testified that it is his practice to destroy (or give to his assistant to destroy) his cellphone and SIM cards when he gets a new cellphone.” Even if you do believe that, there has to be some question about how Brady is looked at as a quarterback now. How will this new destroyed phone scandal hang over his increasingly bruised legacy?

[Stephen A. Smith breaks that Tom Brady destroyed his cellphone]

Goodell dismissed the notion because this was a first time offense of its kind, that the penalty was not appropriate. He went on to reference Bountygate, Brett Favre’s harrassment of a New York Jets employee and two other incidents involving tampered balls. “In terms of the appropriate level of discipline, the closest parallel of which I am aware is the collectively bargained discpline imposed for a first violation of the policy governing performance enhancing drugs; steroid use reflects an improper effort to secure a competitive advantage in, and threatens the integrity of, the game,” he wrote.

At the end of the 20-page report, Goodell said he had no choice to uphold the suspension.

“I entered in the appeal process open to reevaluating my assessment of Mr. Brady’s conduct and the associated discipline. Especially in light of the new evidence introduced at the hearing – evidence demonstrating that he arranged for the destruction of potentially relevant evidence that had been specifically requested by the investigators – my finding and conclusions have not changed in a manner that would benefit Mr. Brady,” the commissioner wrote in conclusion. “Notwithstanding my enormous respect for this accomplishments on the field and for his contributions and role in the community, I find that, with respect to the game balls used in the AFC Championship Game and the subsequent investigation, Mr. Brady engaged in conduct detrimental to the integrity of, and public confidence in, the game of professional football.”