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?
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.