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#pounditThursday, February 25, 2021

Roger Goodell concluded Tom Brady was more than ‘generally aware’ of Deflategate

Roger Goodell

Roger Goodell has publicly applauded the work that so-called “independent” investigator Ted Wells did with Deflategate, but did the NFL commissioner draw his own conclusions beyond those reached by the multimillion-dollar investigation?

In its legal brief submitted to U.S. District Judge Richard Berman on Friday night, the NFL argued that Tom Brady’s four-game suspension is the result of the New England Patriots star being more than just “generally aware” — as Wells concluded — that team employees were allegedly letting air out of game balls. Goodell apparently determined that Brady was directly involved.

Michael McCann of Sports Illustrated provided an inside look at the legal brief:

In its brief filed Friday night, the NFL insists that in spite of the Wells Report finding that Brady was “generally aware” of an alleged ball deflation scheme, Goodell did not punish Brady for being generally aware. Instead, according to the NFL, Brady was punished for far worse misdeeds: Brady allegedly “approved of, consented to, and provided inducements in support of . . . a scheme to tamper with the game balls” and “willfully obstructed” the league’s Deflategate investigation.

We know Goodell is furious that Brady would not turn over his cell phone, but what evidence did he come up with that supports the claim that Brady was directly involved with the deflation of balls? Wells’ best evidence to support the ball tampering allegations came in the form of these text messages, which are essentially open to interpretation. There has been no evidence — at least that we know of — that implicates Brady to that degree.

It seems like Goodell somehow drew his own conclusions without new evidence, which might not be a good look in federal court. He also blatantly lied about a portion of Brady’s testimony from the appeal hearing. Judge Berman may frown upon all of that.

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