One day after Roger Goodell, commissioner of the National Football League, upheld Tom Brady’s punishment for the “Deflategate” scandal, the Patriots quarterback broke his silence in a Facebook post.
In the 507-word post, Mr. Brady wrote that he “did nothing wrong, and no one in the Patriots organization did either.” The three-time Super Bowl MVP also denied allegations that he destroyed his cell phone to prevent investigators from gaining access.
"To suggest that I destroyed a phone to avoid giving the NFL information it requested is completely wrong," Brady wrote, referring to accusations that he decided he needed to trade in a defective phone only after the NFL requested that he hand it over. "There is no 'smoking gun' and this controversy is manufactured to distract from the fact they have zero evidence of wrongdoing.”
The quarterback was suspended for four games and the team was fined $1 million and denied two draft picks when it was discovered that deflated footballs were used in the American Football Conference championship game against the Indianapolis Colts. According to investigator Ted Wells, Brady was “at least generally aware” of the deflations.
The punishments were first handed down in May. At that time, The Christian Science Monitor’s Alexander LaCasse noted that “Brady's suspension seems harsh compared to punishments handed down to other players,” such as former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Brad Johnson, “who admitted to paying ball boys to scuff up footballs used in the 2003 Super Bowl against Oakland” and was not investigated by the league.
In Wednesday’s Facebook post, Brady wrote that he was “very disappointed” by the NFL’s decision to uphold the suspension, adding, ”I will not allow my unfair discipline to become a precedent for other NFL players without a fight.”
At press time, three hours after it was posted on Facebook, Brady’s statement had more than 200,000 likes and 30,000 comments.
This isn’t the first time the New England Patriots have been punished for breaking the rules, as noted by the Monitor's Mr. LaCasse. In 2007, the team was fined $250,000 and docked a first-round draft pick for a scandal known as “Spygate," in which the Patriots were found to have videotaped the signals of an opposing team's coach.
The Patriots are scheduled to open training camp later Wednesday.
This report includes materials from the Associated Press.