The New England Patriots have officially fired back at Ted Wells’s Ballghazi report, in the form of an impenetrable Wordpress page that might as well be titled Loose Balls: The Truth About PSI. The site contains an attempt by one of the Patriots’ lawyers to fisk Wells’s report, and although it’s an exhausting read, there are some genuinely funny attempts at explaining away the painfully obvious scheme.
The most damning parts of the Wells report are text messages exchanged between Jim McNally and John Jastremski, two Pats employees who worked in the locker room and talked a lot about Tom Brady and deflating footballs. McNally even referred to himself as “The Deflator” in one of the messages. However! The Pats have a perfectly reasonable explanation for that:
Mr. Jastremski would sometimes work out and bulk up — he is a slender guy and his goal was to get to 200 pounds. Mr. McNally is a big fellow and had the opposite goal: to lose weight. “Deflate” was a term they used to refer to losing weight. One can specifically see this use of the term in a Nov. 30, 2014 text from Mr. McNally to Mr. Jastremski: “deflate and give somebody that jacket.” (p. 87). This banter, and Mr. McNally’s goal of losing weight, meant Mr. McNally was the “deflator.” There was nothing complicated or sinister about it. If there was any doubt about the jocular nature of the May 9, 2014 texts, a review of all the texts between these two men that day would dispel it.
Sure, man. Sure. Whatever you say. But then how does one explain messages like this:
McNally: Tom sucks…im going make that next ball a fuckin balloon
Jastremski: Talked to him last night. He actually brought you up and said you must have a lot of stress trying to get them done…
Very stupidly, it turns out:
This single text and the reference to “him” and “he,” which the investigators concluded must refer to Mr. Brady, is the lynchpin of the investigator’s conclusion that Mr. Brady was probably “generally aware” of a scheme to release air from the footballs. (pg. 78). There are two levels of speculation here. First is the speculation that the references are in fact a conversation Mr. Jastremski had with Mr. Brady and not with someone else. Second is the speculation that, even if it does refer to a conversation with Mr. Brady, any expressions of concern about Mr. McNally’s level of “stress” had to do with Mr. McNally’s improper deflation of footballs. Neither the sender nor the recipient of this text supported the report’s interpretation. Nor does the language of the text. Nor is there any other corroborative evidence.
A lawyer was paid a lot of money to write this rebuttal.