Deflategate fallout – Pats QB Tom Brady suspended for four games
(NBC Sports) NEW YORK – Tom Brady, the star quarterback of the New England Patriots, was suspended for four games after an investigator concluded he was probably aware that team personnel let air out of footballs for a playoff game.
The league informed Brady in a letter from NFL Executive President Troy Vincent, who wrote that Brady failed to cooperate fully with the investigation and offered testimony that “was not plausible and contradicted by other evidence.”
“Quarterback Tom Brady will be suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2015 regular season for conduct detrimental to the integrity of the NFL.” the league said in a statement Monday afternoon. “Brady may participate in all off-season, training camp and pre-season activities, including pre-season games.”
If the suspension holds, Brady would miss the season’s showcase kickoff game on Sept. 10 against Pittsburgh, then Week 2 at Buffalo, a home game against Jacksonville and a game at Dallas.
Interestingly, he will return the week of a Patriots-Colts AFC championship rematch in Indianapolis — the team that reportedly alerted the league to the under-inflated in the first place.
Brady’s agent, Donald Yee, in a statement released after the announcement, called the punishment “ridiculous and said it had “no legitimate basis.”
He added, “There is no evidence that Tom directed footballs be set at pressures below the allowable limits. In fact, the evidence shows Tom clearly emphasized that footballs be set at pressures within the rules.”
Yee also noted that Brady had fully cooperated with the investigation and “answered every question presented to him.” He said they would appeal the ruling.
The league also fined the team $1 million and the Patriots must forfeit their first-round pick in 2016 and fourth-round pick in the 2017 draft. If New England has more than one pick in those rounds, they must forfeit the earlier pick and are barred from trading or encumbering picks.
John Jastremski and James McNally, the Patriots clubhouse workers who were involved in the deflation of the balls were suspended indefinitely by the club on May 6. Neither can be reinstated without permission of the league and restrictions on their duties.
The league gave several reasons why it came down so hard on the club: “The first is the club’s prior record,” the league wrote, citing the Spygate scandal of 2007 in which Pats staffers videotaped signals of opposing defensive coaches.”
The second reason was a lack of cooperation from Brady and the Patriots. The club refused to make McNally available for an additional interview and Brady refused to hand over any emails or texts “despite being offered extraordinary safeguards by investigators to protect unrelated personal information, the league wrote.