Throughout the—what, six months now? Jesus—of the Ballghazi scandal, Tom Brady has publicly and privately maintained his innocence. Now that his four-game suspension has been upheld, Brady has made his strongest statement yet. He wasn’t involved with deflating footballs, he said, and has been railroaded by Roger Goodell and the NFL.
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.
That’s an unexpectedly broad denial: not only is Brady saying he was unaware of any potential doctored footballs, but he maintains that no balls were doctored at all.
Brady went on to address his destroyed cell phone, which Goodell’s decision claims Brady had his assistant dispose of the very day Brady was to meet with investigators.
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.
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.
Finally, Brady confirmed that settlement talks between the NFLPA and NFL had taken place, but says the league never seriously engaged.
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.
Brady does not make direct mention of taking the NFL to court, but that last line obliquely suggests it, and the NFLPA has already said it will sue—with Brady’s blessing.
You can read Brady’s full statement here.