A major source of frustration for me has been the national media’s refusal criticize the NFL for their handling of deflategate and burying their head in the sand over the corruption of the owners, and the criminal thievery of the Patriots first round pick next month. Because it is the Patriots, no one cares if they get screwed over.

The New York Times bit this week on concussions, and the NFL’s instant reaction to it has just pointed out once again how evil and corrupt they are. The very same lawyers going after Tom Brady are demanding a retraction on the Times story because:

You really cannot make this stuff up.

For the last few weeks I’ve been compiling up as many of the times that the NFL either outright lied, was shady or inconsistent during the deflategate piece. I’ve published the entire piece on Medium, but because it is nearly 4000 words, I’m going to break it up into chunks to post here, and will perhaps have additional content here as well.

Introduction, Plus Lies 1-5:

tldr: This is a rundown of the NFL’s lies and dishonesty during the deflategate scandal. The general public is not aware of many of these acts due to the complicity of the national media as a whole.

recent poll on the Deflategate debacle showed that just 16.3% of people believe Tom Brady and the Patriots, while 40.3% believe the NFL and its version of events.

Let that sink in.

Tom Brady has gone under oath and given sworn testimony as to his version of events.

From the very start of this saga, the National Football League, which embarrassingly attaches the word “integrity” to everything they do, have put out unabashed lie after lie during this case. The activity of the league, its Commissioner Roger Goodell, its officers and officials has been downright criminal.

The national media has been complicit in this sham, with broadcast partners ESPN, NFL Network, CBS, NBC and FOX all refusing to go after the league for the dishonesty with which it has conducted itself. Newspapers, with few individual exceptions, afraid of recrimination such as losing access to the most popular sport in America, also shy away from coming after the league.

This is a rundown of the documented instances in which the NFL either lied, made misleading statements or conflicted its own statements during the deflategate case.

The Two Weeks Following The Game

(1) The leak to Chris Mortensen, (and Peter King and Gerry Austin) saying:

NFL has found that 11 of the Patriots footballs used in Sunday’s AFC title game were under-inflated by 2lbs each, per league source.

This put the court of public opinion firmly against the Patriots. They never really recovered. To this day, Mortensen’s story remains online, only slight edited.

(2) Letter by NFL Official Dave Gardi to Patriots stating that none of the Patriots footballs were up to league required PSI levels, while ALL of the Colts footballs were. He also stated:

In fact, one of the game balls was inflated to 10.1 psi, far below the requirement of 12 1/2 to 13 1/2 psi.

This put the Patriots on the defensive. Now they had this official notice from the league, and Bill Belichick and Tom Brady were forced to try and explain something that hadn’t actually happened. Any hesitation on their part was viewed as evidence of guilt.

(3) Second leak to Mortensen that ALL of the Colts footballs measured up to specifications. On January 22nd, when asked on Twitter whether the Colts’ footballs had been measured, Mortensen answered: Yes, they were within regulation and remained within regulation.

This further cemented the idea that the Patriots had tampered with the footballs, since the Colts’ footballs didn’t change at all.

(4) Roger Goodell appoints NFL VP Jeff Pash and “Independent” investigator Ted Wells to the case. Later, Pash’s role is downplayed by the league, and Wells’ Independent status played up, yet neither was accurate. Wells, who had previously represented the NFL in court and had previously let an investigation in the Miami Dolphins, was hardly independent. The NFL refused to allow NFLPA lawyers to interview Pash, saying his role was minor, while also admitting he had “edited” the final Wells Report.

Gave the public a sense of legitimacy to the investigation by pledging they would be independent and objective. Even if they had no intention of being that.

(5) Dean Blandino is the NFL’s Head of Officiating. When asked prior to the Patriots/Seahawks Super Bowl about whether the NFL tried to run a “sting” against the Patriots, Blandino said:

The issue came up during the first half, as far as I know. There was an issue that was brought up during the first half, a football came into question, and then the decision was made to test them at halftime.

The Wells Report, page 45 states that the day before the game;

Kensil also forwarded Grigson’s email to Dean Blandino and Alberto Riveron, both senior members of the NFL Officiating Department, with the message “see below.” Both Riveron and Blandino decided that they would raise the issue with Walt Anderson, who had been assigned as the referee for the game.

This allowed the league to front the appearance that this was not some planned action on their part, but rather the Patriots being caught “red-handed” in the act of cheating.

More to come…

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19 thoughts on “Series: 56 Lies The NFL Told During Deflategate

  1. Bruce Allen in Context! Wow, this must have taken a long time to put together Bruce, Great job. .

  2. Well, maybe this will open up the worm can so the rest of the herd of reporters can finally have the temerity to speak the truth. Where is the integrity of the media? Where is their objective view. It’s time to investigate the NFL and take out their skeletons. The Patriots, whether you like them or hate them. deserve the truth to be told without holding back. Grow a pair and show what you are made of journalists. Too much hype and not enough substance. If you cannot step up to the plate, then go work for the National Enquirer!

  3. Don’t forget how the original story, at least according to “sources,” was that it was D’Qwell Jackson who originally noticed that the ball he intercepted felt deflated.* When Jackson immediately denied having anything to do with it, “sources” immediately pivoted to saying that it was the “member of the Colts’ equipment staff” to whom Jackson gave the ball that noticed the deflation, who in turn notified Chuck Pagano, who notified Grigson, etc. Meanwhile, Pagano had earlier denied noticing anything wrong with the Patriots’ footballs, and would neither confirm nor deny having notified anyone or done anything to trigger the measuring of the Patriot’s footballs.**

    It’s a little outrageous how little pause it gave anybody in the sporting press that there wasn’t a single coherent and uncontradicted explanation for what initiated the half-time pressure-check. Despite the fact that none of the stories that “sources” had given them for how the investigation got started checked out, everyone was still ready to go forward reporting what these “sources” had to say about the next part of the investigation.

    Of course, we all know now that the Colts were intent on having the Patriots’ ball’ air pressure measured long before the game began, so everything that “sources” told reporters about D’Qwell Jackson’s interception and its role in triggering Deflategate was just misdirection to disguise the premeditated sting operation the NFL had run on the Pats. Somehow, nobody considered this coordinated effort to cover up potentially impropriety being perpetrated by NFL employees to be newsworthy.

    *http://www.wcvb.com/sports/nfl-investigating-after-colts-player-thought-ball-was-under-inflated/30798932

    **http://www.newsday.com/sports/football/nfl-opens-patriots-deflated-football-probe-after-afc-championship-win-1.9821346

    1. My opinion is that the Colts had been sticking needles in footballs in the past to measure psi and because they were just as ignorant as the nfl about the ideal gas law they thought the Pats were tampering with the footballs in past games on cold days because they saw a football below 12.5 psi without realizing on a cold day that is exactly what they should see.

  4. I have come to the conclusion that all the hand wringing over deflategate is meaningless. Bruce’s great work is all for naught. I think Felger is right…not about something happening…I do not think anything happened…but about how the other NFL owners had it out for Kraft…not Belichick…KRAFT. I am not sure if it stems from his defense of the commissioner in Bountygate or Bullygate or standing by him on CBS the day the Ray Rice tape came out, or standing by the punishments given to Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones over the salary dumps in the uncapped years; however no one stood up for him. Not one owner. It has never seemed odd to any media people other than Felger that they were all lock step in line behind this commissioner so soon after the Ray Rice scandal? Further, the NFL exonerated BB seemingly hours (I know it was 2 days) after the story broke. The presumption of people like Tony Mazz is that the league hates him and they were looking to get at him. However their actions say otherwise. This was all about Bob Kraft.

    So that begs the following questions that are not being addressed:
    – Was it just jealousy of the Pats success?
    – Were the Krafts too uppity about their success?
    – 2 draft picks, $1 mill and 4 games for their QB all as a make up punishment to spy gate? Even that sounds ludicrous. They could have had the same effect without the Brady punishment. They could have saved $20 mill+ in legal fees without the Brady punishment. Yet they push it further…do they hate Kraft that much?
    – If this was all jealousy stemming from Kraft’s treatment during spy gate and the resulting treatment of other teams during their scandals, then why hasn’t Kraft found a way to make peace with the league and the other owners so this goes away?
    -Why, when Kraft agreed not to contest the fines and draft pick punishment for an equipment violation…why then did no owner step up and say “ENOUGH…let Brady go…the Ideal Gas Law casts real doubt on the leagues conclusions”?

    My conclusion is this is about way more than deflated footballs.This is about way more than the right to discipline a player. This does not appear to be a power play…Kraft still chairs the TV committee and sits on other influential committees. This seems to be about retribution for the way other owners were treated by Kraft during other scandals. Its a real shame none of the parties involved can be honest about it.

    1. After the MadDog podcast w/Minihane, I thought the same thing. There’s been other chatter on the topic, as well.

      The collusion between 345 Park and the rest I’d love to know but I think he clearly is waking up to the reality that the other 31 are not his friends and the “really nice, respected owner” thing doesn’t play well with them. Maybe it was how chummy Kraft got w/Goodell and how he could work w/autonomy and they wanted to knock him down a little. I’m not sure. I’d be interested to know how the ownership side of things has changed because they’re in this golden era of “can’t do any wrong” right now.

      Its a real shame none of the parties involved can be honest about it.

      I think that Bruce, on Twitter, put it best when he asked why everyone vomits all over themselves trashing the NFL for how dishonest they are–on all but the Patriots and this. The recent tonedeafness on the concussion issue/NYTimes shows this off quite well.

    2. It still astonishes me that a group of grown men, all of whom have achieved a level of success in life that most people can only dream about, can act so petty and childish. I mentioned this when Russo started talking publicly about how the other owners had it in for Kraft: it sounds like a bunch of high school “mean girls” going at it in the school cafeteria. And the notion that the Patriots somehow “got off easy” during Spygate continues to baffle me. It was the most severe punishment in league history at the time (severe OVERpunishment, to be exact), and it was all because BB ignored a memo; not because he violated some sacred rule (technically, it wasn’t even a rule); not because his was the only team doing it (it’s been well known since the day the incident happened that other teams were filming signals); it was because he kept doing it after the memo was sent out. I agree it was stupid of BB to do that, and I agree that he probably should have received a small fine, but for the team to be hammered the way it was, and then for the “mean girls” to complain years later that the punishment was insufficient, simply boggles my mind. Of course, the media helped to drive the false narrative that Spygate was a big deal, a true “scandal,” and that “there must be something they aren’t telling us if they destroyed those tapes.” Apparently, none of them has ever heard of Occam’s Razor, and none of them bothered to actually watch the innocuous Matt Walsh tapes that were played on a constant loop at Goodell’s May 2008 press conference. Oh, and none of them appear to be aware that the Tomase story was proven to be completely false (and was retracted) 8 years ago. Well, as they say in Foxboro, all we as fans can do is “ignore the noise” and not let it get to us. The die is cast. The “Patriots are serial cheaters and all of their success is tainted” narrative is already firmly established and entrenched, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

      1. Two things in reply – I agree with bsmfan in that I’ve felt that, since the start of this that the media and the general public have been two-faced about the NFL. On one hand, the league has shown itself to be a corrupt, lying organization in practically everything it does – Ray Rice, etc., but on the other hand, they’re completely honorable and believable when it comes to those cheatin’ Patriots. It further illustrates the idea that people will believe what they want to believe.

        2nd, I mentioned that Boomer Esiason thing earlier about the NFL ownership being rife with petty jealousies and backbiting (can’t find the exact thing, dammit, but I know it’s out there). It’s kind of illogical from this perspective when you think that these guys are grown men who have pretty much anything they could ever want and should be pretty mellow, mostly, but I guess when you get to that level the only competition you have is internal politics and the games on Sunday. And maybe if some ‘new money’ guy from the northeast had been to 6 super bowls in his 20+ year tenure and was looked at as the ‘model franchise’ of the league (best coach, best QB) and was maybe a little arrogant about it and also seemed to be a favorite of the commissioner, I can see how a bunch of self-absorbed guys with no real perspective or personal moral code would take whatever opportunity they could to humiliate him.

        And I’m going to guess that Kraft building a new stadium with mostly private funds didn’t sit well with those owners, either. It just set an example that the rest of them probably didn’t want to live up to. I can see all those guys getting together saying something like “he’s ruining it for all of us…”

  5. I look forward to reading more (and appreciate the comments as well). I would like to say my anger has subsided a bit, but that would be a lie. From the beginning, this mess has been compounded by one lie or misdirection by the NFL after another, and countless people who consider headlines as facts have jumped on the bandwagon. I read the Wells Report as soon as it was released and, as an attorney, have closely followed the legal proceedings. It is laughable that we are at this point, and it might actually be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic. As you point out, the media (with a few notable exceptions) certainly cannot be counted on to raise the curtain. I’m glad you are, and look forward to reading the next installment!

  6. “This put the court….. They never really recovered. “

    What/who does this “They” mean? The Patriots as a team “never really recovered”? The team that was one game away from returning to the SB? Maybe I’m wrong, but I doubt the Patriots, or any pro team for that matter, cares what the public perception of them is. I’m saying team, not individuals.

    I’ll preface this as saying I’m a Pat’s homer as much as the next guy/gal, but this topic is teetering on becoming as childish as the JFK conspiracy offerings.

    Appreciate the forum though. Carry on.

        1. I’d say the difference there is that the Duke thing seemed to go from one end to the other rather quickly IIRC. Wasn’t it a matter of weeks? I could be mis-remembering. Anyway, it seemed that most people got the message that they didn’t do what they were accused of and their reputations remained relatively intact.
          The thing about deflategate is that the ‘bad data’ and resulting public presumption of guilt hung around for months with no real evidence to refute it. It was kind of the same thing with the SB36 walkthough thing – nothing was actually challenged or retracted for months after the initial allegation, allowing the public to cement its opinion and then feel free to be tired of it and just not care when the truth came out. So – in the public mind, the Pats are still cheaters because people are tired of hearing about it.
          The reason I still care about this is because the draft picks are still being taken for essentially no reason at all and Tom Brady is still on the hook for 4 games for no reason at all. In addition, if the Pats stub their toe, legally speaking, at any time in the future, then it seems reasonable to assume that their ‘past history of rule-breaking’, including spygate and deflategate, will be taken into account when determining what their new punishment should be. That’s why clearing their name is important (even if the attempt is futile) – because if those past ‘transgressions’ are allowed to be used against them the resulting sanction will – I assume – be much worse than anything the Pats have suffered to this point.

  7. On a completely unrelated note to give credit where due, Bruins beat losing a good one as Amalie Benjamin leaving the Globe for NHL.com

    1. I like Jerry and I usually agree with most of what he has to say. But this boycott idea is pretty much a working definition of tilting at windmills, isn’t it? I don’t know how the networks get their ratings data, but I find it exceedingly hard to believe a few million fewer eyeballs on the Thursday night 1st Round broadcast would make any difference at all in the league’s advertising generated TV revenue. I know my fellow Pats fans and I are still pissed, but this seems to me to be kind of silly.

      1. Agree with you 100%. On Barstool it would have made sense, but it being picked up national media makes 100% of Pat’s fans look like 10% of the Pat’s whiners that exist and continue to drag this story out.

        Poor Jerry, moving there was stepback career move. Maybe Mininhane should do a podcast? Ugh.

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