The Wells Report is mindblowing. And not because of the contents. Because of the arrogance, the ineptitude and the lack of neutrality.

Roger Goodell commissioned this as an “Independent Investigation” despite the fact that it was being led by an NFL Executive Vice President in Jeff Pash and by Ted Wells of the law firm of Paul Weiss, which had several lawyers who had represented the NFL in previous lawsuits:

Remember when Rachel Nichols had the temerity to point out these possible conflicts during the Super Bowl week press conference? What was Goodell’s response?

Well, Rachel, I don’t agree with you in a lot of the assumptions you make in your question. I think we have had people that have had uncompromising integrity. Robert Mueller is an example. I think you asked me the same question last fall about a conflict of interest. Their integrity is impeccable. Ted Wells’ integrity is impeccable. These are professionals that bring in outside expertise, outside perspective and their conclusions are drawn only by the evidence and only by the attempt to try to identify that truth. So, I think we have done an excellent job of bringing outside consultants in. Somebody has to pay them, Rachel. So unless you’re volunteering, which I don’t think you are, we will do that. But we have the responsibility to protect the integrity of the league whether we have an owner that’s being investigated or whether we have a commissioner that’s being investigated. They’re done at the highest level of integrity and quality.

The arrogance just oozes off the screen there. “we have done an excellent job.” “done at the highest level of integrity and quality.” Pat yourself on the back a little harder, Roger.

How in the world could you suggest that men who have defended the NFL in court in the past could possibly have any sort of bias in favor of the league?  Ted Wells integrity may well be impeccable. I don’t know the man. I do know that he led the investigation into the bullying in the Miami Dolphins lockerroom, and came back with a report that the NFL apparently liked. So they went back to him again.

Can it really be an “Independent” investigation if you’re using people the same people who have gotten results in your favor in the past? Wouldn’t it be clear to Wells that if he keeps bringing back results the NFL likes, they’ll keep using him?

Then, during the course of the investigation into the Patriots, Wells hires a firm named Exponent Inc. to do forensic testing. Here are some of their greatest hits:

In the late 1980s, it was hired by Suzuki to conduct tests that showed that the Samurai sport utility vehicle wouldn’t tip over during turns at 38 mph, disputing research published by Consumer Reports magazine. In Exponent’s research, the Samurai successfully completed turns at 43 mph. It called the Consumer Reports test “stunt like.”

About 10 years ago, Ford, General Motors Corp. and Chrysler hired Exponent to help with their defense in a slew of lawsuits filed by mechanics who alleged that asbestos in brakes caused them health problems. Exponent’s findings upheld the automakers’ argument that the brakes were not a hazard.

The firm was hired by Exxon to show that a double hull probably would not have prevented the Valdez disaster of 1989. It was also hired by NASA to help determine causes of the Challenger shuttle explosion, and by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to survey the damages to the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building after the Oklahoma City bombing.

Swiss Re, an insurer of the World Trade Center, hired Exponent after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks to argue its case that it should have to pay only half the $7 billion in claims sought on the grounds that the collapse of one tower would have compromised the entire complex even if the second tower had not fallen.

Last May, (2009) the Amazon Defense Coalition alleged that an Exponent study finding that dumping oil waste in the Ecuadorean rain forest did not increase cancer rates was tainted because the firm’s largest shareholder was a member of the board of Chevron Corp., which commissioned the study.

Then they were hired by Toyota over sudden acceleration in their vehicles. That brought this comment:

“If I were Toyota, I wouldn’t have picked somebody like Exponent to do analysis,” said Stanton Glantz, a cardiologist at UC San Francisco who runs a database on the tobacco industry that contains thousands of pages of Exponent research arguing, among other things, that secondhand smoke does not cause cancer. “I would have picked a firm with more of a reputation of neutrality.

(Emphasis mine.) You’d think the NFL and an “Independent Investigation” would know better than to open themselves up to this sort of criticism, but no. They arrogantly plowed ahead with their investigation, using whatever means they deemed fit to “win” the case for the NFL.

Goodell vowed that the NFL would be more “transparent” in its workings. Was this report transparent at all? We’ve already heard from Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Brady’s agent Don Yee about their complaints about things that were conveniently left out of the report. Patriots refused to make McNally available for a follow-up interview. Oh, you had already interview him FOUR TIMES? When does it stop? You interview him nine times and the tenth time they say no, you’re just going to mark down the “refusal?” You mention Brady’s lack of cooperation. Not mentioning that you spent a whole day questioning him and were given access to phone data.

Not addressed at all were questions about the actions of the Colts, (They stuck a needle in the ball which came off  to the sideline after Brady’s interception!)  how the story was leaked to Bob Kravitz and then to others such as Chris Mortensen, and the expressed concerns of the Patriots about bias from the likes of Mike Kensil were flippantly dismissed. Every one of them.

Why interview Dean Pees, and not say, Bill O’Brien? You’re going to interview a guy who used to coach the Patriots defense (and was let go) about something in the QB room? Why not talk to the former QB coach and Offensive Coordinator?

A friend of mine made the following point about the fact that the officials only measured four of the Colts balls at halftime (they claimed to be running out of time, but the Wells Report insisted that McNally could deflate 12 balls in 100 seconds) –  note the order they were measured. They “ran out of time” to finish the Colts. Meaning they measured the Patriots first.

The Colts footballs were given extra time to reach equilibrium with the indoor temperature they were originally measured at (higher PSI reading). But it was only 15 minutes! Sure, and Exponent claims the Patriots gloving procedure impact could dissipate in 15 minutes ..  oh just ignore that though, the report isn’t meant to be internally consistent.

The conclusions are not supported by the evidence, but instead are a lot of suppositions.

Think about this. What the Wells Report is claiming, and it all boils down to this is:

Basically, Wells wants us to assume this “scheme” involves devious skullduggery in order to remove – after atmospheric/temperature effects are accounted for – about .2 or .3 PSI from footballs.  That’s POINT TWO. This is what has is leading the nightly news casts? 

Really?

Four months, 243 pages and it’s “more probable than not” that Brady was “at least generally aware” of a devious, CHEATING plot to bring the footballs down a miniscule amount.

 

And the whole country now says Tom Brady is a lying cheater.

A league with an immense PR problem has a four-time champion who is the perfect spokesman for the sport, and they were determined to bury him. By any means necessary. Why? Because the Colts were attempting a little gamesmanship going into a game against an opponent that had dominated them recently? Because Brady’s name was first on the lawsuit against the NFL a few years ago? Because of the former Jets executives in the league offices?

I don’t know. I just know that something ain’t right.

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60 thoughts on “More Probable Than Not That NFL “Independent Investigation” Was Anything But

  1. As Hurley pointed out, I love how almost all in the media just bought the report as gospel. When the report on the Ray Rice incident came out, basically clearing the league office, nobody buys a thing…

    Can’t have it both ways.

    1. Unfortunately, they can. Somehow the media in our society has gone from Constitutionally protected from government censorship to completely immune from even private sector punishment (i.e., the loss of a job for gross misconduct or outright dishonesty). The NY Times vs. Sullivan case basically gave them carte blanche to defame anyone who can be shown to be a “public figure” by setting the legal bar to prove defamation very, very high. Moreover, their inconsistencies, while perhaps pointed out by guys like Bruce and keyboard warriors like us, merely get glossed over and forgotten once the next “hot” topic comes along. Their employers just like the attention their employees bring to the publication, and don’t really care about the dishonesty (which is, let’s face it, what it really is — blatant dishonesty). Heck, in this town alone over the past few years we’ve seen a confirmed plagiarist rehired by a major daily after being let go by the other one, and a guy who completely fabricated a damaging story on the morning of the biggest game in Patriots’ history not only continue with his employment, but actually get promoted, in a way, within the last year. That completely fabricated story, by the way, continues to be cited as “evidence” of the Patriots “pattern of cheating”, to this very day, by other members of the media, who should know better. So, the damage Tomase inflicted on the Pats’ reputation lingers, and yet Tomase continues to prosper in his career, while facing absolutely zero ramifications for what he did. Then again, maybe the mediots who continue talk about “taping the Rams walkthrough” shouldn’t know any better, given the fact that a long time ago I came to the conclusion that most media members are irretrievably stupid — that goes for ALL of them, not just sports writers; fancy Ivy League degrees or not, these people, in general, are just not that bright and they are the very definition of a “herd”, as in “herd mentality”. They simply cannot think for themselves. The “narrative” is all they know.

      Don’t like the Boston examples? OK, how about this “Doyel” lunatic out in Indy calling for the heads of everyone in Foxboro for their wanton disrespect for the integrity of the game (even claiming that their perfectly legal formations in the Ravens game somehow sullied the “spirit of the rules” and the “integrity of the game”, and that they didn’t win “with honor.”) All the while, this moron has not once mentioned, to my knowledge, the most egregious case of non-integrity the NFL has seen in years: the Suck for Luck campaign orchestrated by his hometown franchise.

      No my friend. The media CAN have it both ways. Until some legal genius figures out way to lower the bar for defamation suits, they’ll just keep getting away with their b.s. Heck, they’ll keep getting rewarded for it by their colleagues, in fact.

  2. As always, Curran is crushing it this week. While Felger and YARM like to dismiss him as a pom-pom waver, his writing has balance, unlike the report itself. This is the best example:

    http://www.csnne.com/new-england-patriots/did-NFLs-inattention-to-PSI-lead-to-Deflategate

    He does not exonerate the Patriots from some wrong-doing but shows how the NFL could have prevented this LONG before the AFCCG by actually taking the pregame measurements seriously. Instead, they only take them seriously after a team complained and a subsequent check showed Pats balls barely illegal (when factoring in the environment).

    This whole thing is insane. If the “integrity” of the league rests on 1 psi of air in a football… well, then the league’s integrity has the fragility of a Faberge Egg.

    Looks like Chatham is going to rip this report a new one on Monday at his site.

    1. Portnoy eviscerated both of them today for an hour. And “Scott from Waltham” (Zolak) called in and sided with El Pres.

  3. Giardi reporting that “sources near the Patriots” fear a 6-to-8 game suspension.

    1. I’m sure they do fear that. I fear a 6-8 game suspension for Brady too. However, I also don’t think it is bloody likely.

  4. “Patriots refused to make McNally available for a follow-up interview. Oh, you had already interview him FOUR TIMES? When does it stop?”
    To be fair, Bruce, denying the fifth interview is a bit suspicious. If you follow the timeline, the juicy text messages between McNally and Jastremski were only revealed to Ted Wells after the fourth interview. So, basically, when Wells finally had something to sink his teeth into with McNally he was all of a sudden denied access. That definitely raises an eyebrow for me. And for Bob Kraft to not mention this when he commented on the excessive interviews during his statement is a bit disingenuous.

    1. Also, as I understand it all but one of those interviews were with NFL Security, not with the Wells Report investigators. The investigators only talked to McNally once, then found the texts, then wanted to talk to him again and were refused.

      I’m a bit annoyed at Kraft for coming out with a statement that tries to make it sound like Wells’s team had talked to McNally four times,

      1. Why those idiots didn’t delete those texts, I’ll never know. They are being interpreted out of context, but everyone says the same thing: without them, they’d really have nothing.

        1. it’s possible they did delete them and the investigators recovered them from the phone.

          1. You’re probably right. I wasn’t sure of what technical capabilities they had at their disposal.

          2. Carriers log everything, including GPS. They denied for years but all of the forensic cases over the years blew the lid off of that. (No secret if you worked in the industry.) However, it’s usually only unearthed via the user themselves who has authority on the account or, obviously, a subpoena.

          3. They sure do. This is a pretty good chart explaining what each carrier does. http://www.pcmag.com/image_popup/0,1740,iid=313504,00.asp

            If you have something to say to someone without being found out you would you have to go meet a person in a neutral location, walk there, leave your cell phone and any other electronic device at home, and avoid all traffic signals, and even then it will be difficult to not be caught on camera somewhere along the line.

  5. Focusing on the investigators seems a little bit like grasping at straws.

    1. Something like this would be ripped to pieces in a real life, and something a defense attorney would use to dismiss evidence even before a trial.

  6. Goodell should check the PSI in his f****** office with all the leaks coming out of it since the AFCCG. Honestly the single worst commissioner in any sport in my lifetime.

  7. So if Exponent is a trusted and unbiased source for the league, we should be able to smoke at all of the NFL games. You know, because their trusted source dismisses the notion that second hand smoke causes cancer.

    1. Thanks for Exponent’s wisdom, I also make sure to mix asbestos in with my Fruit Loops every morning. It’s very nutritious and part of a balanced breakfast!

  8. AARRRGH. Tanguay back this morning. “He should be suspended for being arrogant.” He’s added taking a helicopter to Salem State to his list of “he thinks he’s better than us” BS which included family photos on vacation, going to the Derby, going to the fight, etc. Ya know…real @sshole type stuff.

    Well played, ‘EEI. After two weeks of great radio with Big O, you go back this motherf’er. At this point I’m ready to go to wherever Dino is and just drag him out of rehab or at the very least set up a microphone and ISDN line.

    1. My favorite exchange…

      Minihane: Gary how far did you run?
      Tanguay: a mile or two.
      Minihane: Barefoot
      Tanguay: Yes
      Minihane: Really
      Tanguay: Um No.

      It is with compelling radio like that when Tanguay feels he needs to one up Lenny Clarke which separates WEEI from the chaff.

      The suits at WEEI have to know that Tanguay is a moron. If they don’t then they need to go too.

    2. I will remember that the next time I hear Gary “Sticking up for the little guy” Tanguay’s voice during a commercial for a vehicle that costs more than what I make in a year.

    3. Tom Brady’s punishment from the NFL will be that he has to sit out a game and listen to Tanguay for the entire 3 hours.

  9. Felger is really starting to push the limits over this Wells report nonsense. He seems to be implicating the entire Pats organization, calling for BB and the organization to be punished and, not surprisingly, taking EVERYTHING negative the report says about the Patriots as 100% gospel. Seriously, how is this guy so popular? Are there that many fans out there who enjoy hearing their favorite teams relentlessly bashed by disingenuous clowns like him and YARM? Will the schtick ever get old for some of these people who’ve made him so popular? I just don’t get it.

    1. He is popular because he usually finds issues that are kind of illogical to smarter people and he harps on them. For example the BBWA’s lack of coverage of PED usage during the 80’s, 90’s and through 2005. He found the pulse for people who wanted more Bruins coverage at the time the Bruins made their Cup run. His criticisms of the Celtics are almost exactly what mine would be. He nails it.

      From the beginning he has had a problem with the Patriots because his perception that someone has to “not bow down to the hoodie” has become so negative that he and YARM have been unable to objectively discuss the positive aspects of what the Pats have accomplished. It is a shame actually because on baseball, basketball and hockey he has gotten it mostly right.

      1. I’ll give him credit for pounding the BBWA (and that overrated fraud Peter Gammons…my words, no one else’s, but I do believe him to be an overrated fraud, and not just over PED’s)…over the steroids thing. I also appreciate the fact that he was the only sports media voice in town who wanted to talk hockey before the B’s actually became a Cup contender (aside from Dale Arnold, but he was a paid employee of the team and so he was seen as illegitimate by many). I don’t know of any specific criticisms of the Celtics that he’s gotten right, but I’ll take your word for it on that one; however, he does come off, far too often than not, as just a Celtic hater who originally hales from a city whose team got its asses handed to it by the Bird (and Cowens) Celtics far too often during his youth. Like you said, it’s his Patriots bashing that has gone beyond the pale and has become an outright pathology at this point. I guess there are some people out there who continue to listen to him because they simply buy into the narrative that the team should have won more than four Super Bowls by now, and that BB’s and Kraft’s “mismanagement” has prevented that. This latest “scandal” just provides more red meat for that portion of his audience.

      2. Felger was initially very supportive of the Patriots in the early Brady/Belichick run. He had some memorable confrontations with Ron Borges on Sports Final. Things changed in 2004 with the access that Belichick gave to Michael Holley for his “Patriot Reign” book. Felger published an inferior book at the same time called “Tales From The Patriots Sideline.” That was like the equivalent of Dan Shaughnessy being denied a free lunch from Bob Kraft.

    2. Whenever someone mentions that babbling bozo, I just remember Shawn Thornton taking a swig of champagne, blowing a puff of cigar smoke, and saying “Suck it, Felger.”

  10. So where are we today:

    – Mike Florio made a compelling argument that the NFL really has no evidence that the balls were deflated. He correctly pointed out that Wells could not determine which gauge Anderson used prior to the game starting (although Anderson is reputed to be beyond reproach with an iron clad memory in the Wells report) setting up the following problem for the NFL. If the gauge with the NFL logo was use prior to the game and then again at half time, based on its readings the PSI of 11 of 12 footballs fall exactly where the Ideal Gas Law predicts they will fall.

    – As best anyone can tell there is no conversation or alleged conversation where Brady directed the balls to be inflated to any PSI less than 12.5.

    – What the Wells report really illustrates is how much of a clusterf&*k the NFL’s policies for policing balls really was. From allowing balls to be inflated to as much as 16PSI and which started the Pats equipment guys on their path of checking the balls after the refs put air in them, to the lack of controls, to allowing an official to be stealing game balls destined to go to charity, the NFL demonstrated a pattern of incompetence not seen since MLB tried to tackle the problem of making strike zones consistent.

    – The more I reread and reread the Wells report the more I feel Walt Anderson should be suspended at best, fired at worst. He lied to Wells when he said he was agitated and nervous because he could not find the game balls (when McNally made the bathroom run). He was sloppy in the pregame measurements and again at half time. He could not tell the investigators if he measured the Colts or Pats balls first prior to the game, he only measured 4 of the Colts balls (3 of which showed the same drop in pressure as the Pats balls did), he used two different gauges getting significantly different readings and did not stop to calibrate them. Yet no one is talking about this Buffoon.

    – If the NFL suspends Brady, something I no longer think will happen because the powers to be in the league office have to be realizing they have no case, I think Brady and the NFLPA are getting ready to sue. I do not think it is a coincidence that high profile QB’s are sounding off in support of Brady. I think this is a coordinated move by the NFLPA to start circling the wagons. I know the barbarians are at the gate demanding frontier justice. I also know the easy thing for Goodell and co to do is suspend Brady giving the unwashed masses their pound of flesh. The problem they have as illustrated above is that they have no evidence, while precedence for these infractions is a fine (SD towel, Carolina heating the kicking balls etc.)

    – When this is all over I doubt Roger Goodell and Bob Kraft have anything remotely close to a cordial relationship. However, I think they will work together. As fans we will forever despise Goodell. But we do not have to work with him and $billions are not in play or effected by our emotions.

    – The thing that is most clear in this debacle, and I doubt Saints fans would disagree with what I am about to say, is that there are no responsible adults in the room standing up and doing what is “right”. Instead you have a bunch of ego maniacal billions acting like 6 year olds all trying to get their older brother in trouble. Until a new responsible adult steps up…the NFL will be a very successful joke.

    1. I’ve said many times that the whole Saints investigation was a joke. I forget how much but a ton was recanted, but once the “buzz” on the story was dead, everyone stopped digging.

      Anyone think that in light of the news today that the NFL investigating itself is about as legitimate as congress doing the same? Conclusion -> find facts to support.

  11. So the ague in its infinite wisdom has accessed the following penalty for perhaps deflating a ball by 1PSI:
    -$1mill fine
    – 1st round pick (2016)
    – 4th round pick (2017)
    _ Tom Brady 4 game suspension (at a $14 mill cap hit means he loses $3.5 mill)
    For a grand total of 2 picks and $4.5 mill.

    To put that in perspective:
    – The Jets lost $100K when Woody Johnson TAMPERED with Darrell Revis.
    – Ray Rice got 2 games for Beating the living crap out of his wife
    – The SD chargers got a $20K fine for illegally having towels covered in sticker on the sideline and then hiding them from the refs.
    – Ray Lewis got $250K for obstructing justice in a murder investigation.
    – To the best of my knowledge Aaron Hernandez has not received an NFL penalty for killing 3 people.
    – Donte Stallworth got 16 games for killing someone.
    – The Broncos who were repeat offenders for salary cap manipulations
    in 2001 – $965000 fine and lost a 4th rounder
    in 2004 – $950000 fine and lost a 3rd rounder

    Again, Tom Brady and the Patriots are losing $4.5 mill and 2 picks because it is alleged but not proven that the deflated some footballs in an organized racket after the balls were approved by the ref. Got to love the perspective, the sense of fairness and all around great job done by the NFL on this one.

    1. I really am stunned. The draft pick penalties — based on a report exonerating BB and Kraft — are the most infuriating aspect of this. Sadly, they’ll get away with it because they know Kraft can’t sue or appeal. It’s up to him, now, to begin quietly assembling support to remove this moron as Commissioner. Brady is going to win his appeal, easily, and he’s also going to win the defamation suit — if chooses to file it. Kraft, however, can only win if he gets Goodell removed. He now has to begin moving in that direction. This is an utter travesty. A complete joke. The Jets got a slap on the wrist for basically stealing the Patriots best defensive player before he officially became a free agent. Let’s talk “competitive advantage” and “Integrity of the game,” shall we? I hate the NFL this moron Goodell has created. There really are no words left to say, except: MEDIA BLACKOUT FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL WEEKS.

  12. Most people are focusing on the games, but to me the draft pick penalty is much bigger. Let’s not forget, the Pats went 2 and 2 and were BLOWN out by KC in week 4 this season, after which many of the mediots and fans wrote them off (not for the season, BUT FOR THE REST OF BRADY’S CAREER) en route to the Lombardi Trophy.

    1. Stealing the draft picks WHEN THE REPORT EXONERATED BELICHICK AND KRAFT is the absolute biggest joke in this whole thing. It’s almost like the league knows Brady is going to kill them in the appeals process, so they put in major, un-appealable penalties as a safeguard so that the haters will still have their “Cheatriots” meme to further even after Brady gets the suspension overturned. Goodell has turned the NFL into the WWE. The other owners should be embarrassed by this (except for Irsay and Johnson, of course…they’re loving it).

    2. Hey, all of the league’s other policies to create parity haven’t worked on Pats, so let’s just take away a first rounder for no good reason.
      (But agree, the $1M fine is getting more attention than losing the picks. That’s what matters here).

  13. So thinking about this…. specifically, what Kraft’s options are. There is, shall we say, a “nuclear option” here, if he so desires: He could sue Goodell individually and/or the NFL.

    Now before you say, “Dave, the NFL bylaws specifically prohibit member clubs from suing the commisioner or the league….” Yes, that’s true. But there are exceptions that can’t be waived/agreed away by that proviso. Specifically, Kraft on behalf of the Patriots could bring an action for breach of fiduciary duty against Goodell individually, or the league as an entity, IF — and this is a big “if” — the Patriots could demonstrate that the league or Goodell acted in bad faith in this proceeding. The commissioner and the league owe a fiduciary obligation to all the members of the NFL. It would be difficult, but not impossible, to find that duty breached in this case. It would involve a lot of claims, and I’m not sure of the precedent applicable, but theoretically one could construct an argument that the investigation and punishment were disproportionate to any reasonable action previously imposed against member clubs, and there is evidence that the “independent” investigation was anything but. It’s a longshot, but tactically all Kraft would have to do is present a colorable claim that wouldn’t immediately be rejected by the courts. At that point, the mere threat of extensive discovery — especially if subpoenas started going out to the other NFL clubs for their books and records and such — would bring this all to a violently rapid end. (I think a sufficient plurality of the other owners would, at that point, fire Goodell and quickly put in someone new who would rescind this fiasco of a “report” and dock the team $50k or something and be done with it all. At least that’s what I’d recommend to them. The very last thing anyone in the NFL wants is their finances exposed.)

    Just idle thoughts. The chance of this is like .001%. But it’s fun to think about.

    1. If I were Kraft I’d go public with everything and anything surrounding the cover up of the Ray Rice incident and the NFL’s knowledge of that videotape. Repeatedly make clear the fact that brutally beating women gets a 2 game suspension and no punishment for the team, while the possibility that the footballs were deflated by an insignificant amount gets a 4 game suspension, $1 million fine and the loss of 2 draft picks. Demand Goodell to answer for the fact that this insignificant deflating of balls is viewed as much more harsh than domestic abuse.
      I would also, on opening night of the season use the field and/or stadium to publically call out Goodell for s subject and refuse to allow the players to take the field (something which can’t be made known until exactly then so they don’t try to reschedule or something else).

      1. Yup. he should do what reportedly BB threatened to do if they ever personally penalized him again. He was going to out all the other teams dirty dealings. Everyone wonders why the NFL officialy took BB off the hook in the Wells reports well this could be why.

    2. Dave:

      As a fan I read you post and yell right on. But realistically Kraft is not Al Davis. He is not suing the NFL. At most he will appeal Troy Vincent’s decision to Goodell where the commissioner will most likely say the punishment is too harsh. He will give the Pats back their 1st rounder, and reduce the fine but still take the 4th rounder. It is why the punishment came from Vincent’s office and not Goodell’s; it gives the NFL some room to look magnanimous.

      As an observer of the NFL my question becomes…if there is going to be a law suit doesn’t it have to come from Brady and the NFLPA? a $3.5 mill penalty (suspension of 4 games) because Ted Wells thinks you “generally” knew that balls were being reduced in air pressure after the refs messed with them. I was talking with a lawyer friend of mine who specializes in work place law (specifically management contracts) and he he was salivating at getting his hands on this case. His position was there are a lot of rules about what an employer can and cannot due regarding punishing an employee for actions taken while working in Massachusetts and that there have to be reasonable consequences. I am not a lawyer and do not play one on TV, but intuitively it seems to me that the NFL did not prove anything about Brady and that regardless of what the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement says a $3.5 mill penalty with no evidence seems very harsh.

      The NFL’s track record in these employee suits is not very good. I believe only the Jonathan Vilma suspension has been held up when courts or arbitrators have gotten involved. Based on Don Yee’s statement from yesterday I don’t think Brady and Co are going to stand back and just accept 4 games. I am not sure they are willing to accept any games.

      1. LTD, if Kraft thinks Goodell is intentionally imposing unsupported discipline out of animosity that materially affects the value of his franchise, he’s absolutely suing.

        Like I said, the likelihood of a suit against NFL is slim… but it’s definintely nontrivial, which is unprecedented in the last 30 years.

        A lot of this depends on whether Kraft has any support among the other owners. If the Rooneys and the Maras think that the monster they’ve created has gone too far, what I see happening is a subset of owners strongarming Goodell into farming this out to a neutral arbitrator — basically, what happened with the Saints — who will, unless they’re brain damaged, get rid of 99% of this penalty, as it’s built on sand.

        Brady’s situation is entirely different, as he’s covered by a CBA. He can (and will) ask the union to file a grievance on his behalf. Of course, who hears and decides on the grievance? Goodell. Vilma sued (if memory serves) more or less on the grounds that Goodell’s oversight of the CBA was a labor law violation; that suit was retracted when the NFL named Tagliabue to revisit the entire situation. (And he wound up vacating Vilma’s suspension entirely.) Brady could, in theory, do the same. It gets complex after that.

        1. Thanks for the response Dave. As I said above Kraft is not Al Davis. I can’t see him suing the NFL. I can see him working with the Maras and Rooney’s and dumping Goodell. But that is 2-3 steps down the line.

        2. My thoughts are that there is a “legal” way around the limitations placed on Kraft and the other owners with regard to taking action against the league (I base this on absolutely zero knowledge of those limitations, but there’s got to be some loophole in there that a smart lawyer can exploit). Now, Kraft just has to find a lawyer smart enough to find that legal way around them. Kraft has to pull Commissioner Incompetent aside and tell him that he’s not going to take this, and that Goodell either overturns most of this b.s. penalty (remember, technically it wasn’t Goodell who imposed them, and so he can overturn them without a hearing), or Kraft takes it all the way to Federal court if he has to. If the other owners smell trouble in that there’s even a hint this case would see the inside of a courtroom, thus further embarrassing and already discredited league, that may give Kraft the leverage he needs to finally get this corrupt, dishonest, biased imbecile removed as Commissioner. Goodell’s successor would then, no doubt, reduce the penalties to slap-on-the-wrist levels, which is where they belong (call them “procedural deficiencies on game day” and apply the rulebook fine of $25K to the team). Brady is going to CRUSH the NFL at some point — either on appeal or in court, so I’m not worried about him. I’m more worried about the brazen, unwarranted theft of draft picks here, especially in light of the Jets being given no such penalties for their blatant Revis tampering — when the very same commissioner docked the 49ers a 5th round pick in the Lance Briggs case a few years ago. JOKE.

          1. Remember just a few weeks ago when Felger was promoting the narrative that Goodell and Kraft are still chummy and that the lack of real discipline in the Revis tampering case was connected to Deflategate? Ooops…another conspiracy theory down the drain. How the hell does that show still get taken seriously? i’m gonna channel Belichick here and say…who’s more wrong than Michael Felger?

          2. Felger has to be just loving this. He’s been calling for the Pats to get whacked along with Brady this entire time, and he got his wish. I really don’t understand his popularity. I never will.

  14. Brady should have been suspended indefinitely. How dare he fly in private planes, go to the Kentucky Derby, have a 917 cellphone number as a Boston-area resident, date a Supermodel, post pictures of his kids on social media, participate in charity events. My god.. the arrogance and audacity of that full-of-himself prick Tom Brady!!!!!!

    1. This morning he was going after Jerry Thornton on a personal level. At one point he even suggested if WEEI management was smart they’d send JT to write homer pieces for PFW and bring Puerillo in and get better ratings.

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