It seems like so long ago, we were talking about ethics in deflated balls. Ted Wells released his investigation into the Patriots’ tampering of the footballs today. The 243-page document can be found here.
The report’s conclusions believe it’s “more probable than not” that Patriots personnel tried to break the rules, and that Tom Brady was likely aware of the practice of deflating balls.
For the reasons described in this Report, and after a comprehensive investigation, we have concluded that, in connection with the AFC Championship Game, it is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules. In particular, we have concluded that it is more probable than not that Jim McNally (the Officials Locker Room attendant for the Patriots) and John Jastremski (an equipment assistant for the Patriots) participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots game balls after the balls were examined by the referee. Based on the evidence, it also is our view that it is more probable than not that Tom Brady (the quarterback for the Patriots) was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of McNally and Jastremski involving the release of air from Patriots game balls.
We do not believe that the evidence establishes that any other Patriots personnel participated in or had knowledge of the violation of the Playing Rules or the deliberate effort to circumvent the rules described in this Report. In particular, we do not believe there was any wrongdoing or knowledge of wrongdoing by Patriots ownership, Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick or any other Patriots coach in the matters investigated. We also do not believe there was any wrongdoing or knowledge of wrongdoing by Patriots Head Equipment Manager Dave Schoenfeld.
As for the kicking ball introduced during the second half, the report finds that the Patriots didn’t intentionally try to switch balls.
Based on the evidence, the investigation has further concluded that that there was no deliberate attempt by the Patriots to introduce to the playing field a non-approved kicking ball during the AFC Championship Game. Although Patriots personnel provided a kicking ball to game officials that did not have the distinctive inspection mark of the referee, we find that the Patriots personnel involved believed the ball to be authentic and appropriate. We do not believe that there was any attempt by Patriots personnel, including Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski, to deliberately circumvent the rules by offering the kicking ball for play.
We’ll be updating this post as we go through the report. If you find anything interesting, put it in the comments.
Update (1:33 p.m.): There are some quality texts between Patriots locker room attendant Jim McNally and Patriots equipment assistant John Jastremski: