New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady defended himself in a lengthy post to Facebook on Wednesday morning, saying he was “very disappointed” with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s decision to uphold his four-game suspension.
Brady reiterated in the post that he “did nothing wrong” in regard to the Patriots’ use of underinflated footballs in the AFC Championship game. In addition, he disagreed with Goodell’s claim that the four-time Super Bowl winner destroyed his cellphone in an effort to prevent attorney Ted Wells, who headed the NFL-commissioned Deflategate investigation, from seeing text messages relevant to the case.
Brady claimed he only replaced his phone after his attorneys told the NFL that his old phone wouldn’t be turned over to investigators. He also said his membership in the NFL Players’ Assn. put him under no obligation to give his phone to Wells.
“Most importantly, I have never written, texted, emailed to anybody at anytime, anything related to football air pressure before this issue was raised at the AFC Championship game in January,” Brady wrote. “To suggest that I destroyed a phone to avoid giving the NFL information it requested is completely wrong.”
Brady also confirmed earlier reports that he authorized the NFLPA to engage in settlement talks after taking part in his 10-hour appeal hearing in New York on June 23. He said the NFL made no counter-offer during settlement discussions. Brady also accused the NFL of overstepping its authority under the collective bargaining agreement and his rights as a private citizen.
“I will not allow my unfair discipline to become a precedent for other NFL players without a fight,” wrote Brady, who is set to battle his suspension in federal court.
Here is Brady’s statement in its entirety:
I am very disappointed by the NFL’s decision to uphold the 4 game suspension against me. I did nothing wrong, and no one in the Patriots organization did either.
Despite submitting to hours of testimony over the past 6 months, it is disappointing that the Commissioner upheld my suspension based upon a standard that it was “probable” that I was “generally aware” of misconduct. The fact is that neither I, nor any equipment person, did anything of which we have been accused. He dismissed my hours of testimony and it is disappointing that he found it unreliable.
I also disagree with yesterdays narrative surrounding my cellphone. I replaced my broken Samsung phone with a new iPhone 6 AFTER my attorneys made it clear to the NFL that my actual phone device would not be subjected to investigation under ANY circumstances. As a member of a union, I was under no obligation to set a new precedent going forward, nor was I made aware at any time during Mr. Wells investigation, that failing to subject my cell phone to investigation would result in ANY discipline.
Most importantly, I have never written, texted, emailed to anybody at anytime, anything related to football air pressure before this issue was raised at the AFC Championship game in January. To suggest that I destroyed a phone to avoid giving the NFL information it requested is completely wrong.
To try and reconcile the record and fully cooperate with the investigation after I was disciplined in May, we turned over detailed pages of cell phone records and all of the emails that Mr. Wells requested. We even contacted the phone company to see if there was any possible way we could retrieve any/all of the actual text messages from my old phone. In short, we exhausted every possibility to give the NFL everything we could and offered to go thru the identity for every text and phone call during the relevant time. Regardless, the NFL knows that Mr. Wells already had ALL relevant communications with Patriots personnel that either Mr. Wells saw or that I was questioned about in my appeal hearing. There is no “smoking gun” and this controversy is manufactured to distract from the fact they have zero evidence of wrongdoing.
I authorized the NFLPA to make a settlement offer to the NFL so that we could avoid going to court and put this inconsequential issue behind us as we move forward into this season. The discipline was upheld without any counter offer. I respect the Commissioners authority, but he also has to respect the CBA and my rights as a private citizen. I will not allow my unfair discipline to become a precedent for other NFL players without a fight.
Lastly, I am overwhelmed and humbled by the support of family, friends and our fans who have supported me since the false accusations were made after the AFC Championship game. I look forward to the opportunity to resume playing with my teammates and winning more games for the New England Patriots.