In the latest development of the seemingly interminable Deflategate saga, Roger Goodell has upheld the four game suspension of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for his purported role in the alleged New England scheme to deflate footballs below the league minimum for the playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts. One key piece of evidence that apparently was not revealed until the Brady appeal was the fact that Brady did not just refuse to grant the NFL access to his cell phone; apparently Brady actually destroyed his phone on or about the day before he was to meet with NFL investigators.
In the opinion informing Brady that his appeal had been denied, Commissioner Goodell emphasized important new information disclosed by Brady and his representatives in connection with the hearing.
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. 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.
"Based on the Wells Report and the evidence presented at the hearing, Commissioner Goodell concluded in his decision that Brady was aware of, and took steps to support, the actions of other team employees to deflate game footballs below the levels called for by the NFL's Official Playing Rules. 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.
Brady and the NFLPA are expected to appeal the decision in U.S. federal court, although that decision has not yet been officially disclosed.
To sum up where we are, Pats destroy Colts; Pats deflate balls; Brady deflects blame; League demands phone; Brady destroys phone; Goodell destroys Brady. Brady expected to seek appeal. And on and on it goes; where this ends, nobody knows.
Camp starts this week. It can't come soon enough.