Quarterback Tom Brady, 37, has been fighting to appeal the four-game suspension that was handed down to him for his alleged role in the Deflategate scandal involving the New England Patriots’ victory in the AFC championship game. (Eleven of the 12 footballs used by the team in the game were found to be under-inflated.)
Brady was subsequently suspended for the first four games of the regular season after it was deemed “more probable than not” that the quarterback knew about the faulty balls. Of course, Brady filed a motion to appeal the decision, but the NFL has ruled that his suspension will be upheld on the grounds that Brady destroyed a potentially valuable piece of evidence—his cell phone—before meeting with investigators.
According to the NFL, “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.” In the four months before destroying the phone, Brady reportedly exchanged almost 10,000 text messages, all of which are now inaccessible, and he didn’t report that the phone had been destroyed until nearly four months after investigators first requested his electronic information.
On the other hand, Brady argued that it’s normal practice for him to destroy his cell phone and its SIM card (or get his assistant to do it) whenever he gets a new phone, implying that the timing was mere coincidence. His argument, however, wasn’t convincing enough to appeal the suspension, which means that Brady will still lose out on $1.88 million for sitting out on the four games.
Ian Rapoport, NFL’s media insider, commented that the league was willing to negotiate to reach a settlement, but Brady wasn’t willing to accept any offers that involve him skipping games. Instead, Rapoport said that Brady will work on examining his “legal options” going forward.
McClam, E., “NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Upholds Tom Brady’s Deflate-Gate Su spension,” NBC News web site, July 28, 2015; http://goo.gl/Zs8v4V.
Chiari, M., “Tom Brady’s Deflategate Suspension Upheld: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction,” Bleacher Report web site, July 28, 2015; http://goo.gl/UsXH35.