The morning after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld the four-game suspension of Tom Brady for his role in DeflateGate, the New England Patriots quarterback asserted that “I did nothing wrong” in a Facebook post.
I authorized the NFLPA to make a settlement offer to the NFL so that we could avoid going to court and put this inconsequential issue behind us as we move forward into this season. The discipline was upheld without any counter offer. I respect the Commissioners authority, but he also has to respect the CBA and my rights as a private citizen. I will not allow my unfair discipline to become a precedent for other NFL players without a fight.
Brady said his representatives had reached out to his cell-service provider to see if there were any way to retrieve “any/all of the text messages from my old phone.” That was impossible, he writes, and adds:
Most importantly, I have never written, texted, emailed to anybody at anytime, anything related to football air pressure before this issue was raised at the AFC Championship game in January. To suggest that I destroyed a phone to avoid giving the NFL information it requested is completely wrong.
The post had been liked more than 60,000 times within the first 40 minutes of being posted and, yes, one of those likes came from the account of his supermodel wife, Gisele Bundchen. Here’s his full text, posted at roughly 7:30 a.m. EDT:
I am very disappointed by the NFL’s decision to uphold the 4 game suspension against me. I did nothing wrong, and no one…
Posted by Tom Brady on Wednesday, July 29, 2015
As for what might have happened with those settlement talks, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reports that the NFL was willing to drop the suspension of the Super Bowl XLIX QB by “at least 50 percent” if Brady would admit to having knowledge of whatever was being done to the footballs and failing to cooperate with Ted Wells’ investigation and apologized.
Had he done those three things, Florio writes that “It’s believed that Brady’s suspension would have been dropped at least to two games, with the possibility of dropping it to one if he were sufficiently persuasive and profuse in his acceptance of guilt.”
But neither side drew closer and the NFLPA’s George Atallah told MMQB”s Peter King that, “No substantive discussions were had about terms, other than the union’s initial outreach. I cannot be clearer on this.”
Now, Brady begins the task of fighting and living with a reputation that has been badly damaged by this, possibly more so off the field than on. Now, there’s a deflating (sorry) disappointment in him. The Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy writes that this is way worse than SpyGate. In SpyGate, it was easy for fans and pundits to heap scorn on Coach Bill Belichick; that only makes him stronger. Brady is different. He will always be the sixth-round draft pick who made good. From Shaughnessy:
Give up. It’s time for local loyalists to parachute down from Planet Patriot and get in touch with reality. Stop twisting yourselves into knots to justify the petty crimes and coverups of the Patriots and their quarterback.According to the NFL, the Patriots cheated. They tampered with footballs after the balls were approved by game officials. The NFL terms it an ongoing “scheme.’’ It’s not a huge transgression, but the tampering was done to gain a competitive advantage. It appears to have been systematic. Tom Brady knew about it, then he destroyed evidence.
So the quarterback has lost in the court of public opinion, and it didn’t have to be that way. He should have copped to his mistake months ago. He should’ve realized that one stain wouldn’t ruin an otherwise spotless career. He should’ve apologized for seeking that extra competitive edge, if only to prove one more time that 198 players shouldn’t have been picked ahead of him in the 2000 NFL draft.
No amount of Facebook posts can change that, it’s time to move on, according to ESPN’s Jackie Macmullan:
Brady feels as though he’s done nothing wrong and his reputation is at stake, but nothing he does now can reverse the court of public opinion, which tried and convicted him months ago in every state of the union except a smattering of New England strongholds.What Brady needs to do is swallow hard, accept the suspension and move on from this awful mess. Is the penalty too harsh? Of course, but it doesn’t matter anymore what Brady did or didn’t do — and that’s a shame. It’s all about posturing now. Brady wants the penalty to signify a lack of cooperation; nothing more. Goodell wants the penalty to reflect his grasp of his football empire; nothing less.