tldr: This is a rundown of the NFL’s lies and dishonesty during the deflategate scandal. The general public is not aware of many of these acts due to the complicity of the national media as a whole.
A recent poll on the Deflategate debacle showed that just 16.3% of people believe Tom Brady and the Patriots, while 40.3% believe the NFL and its version of events.
Let that sink in.
Tom Brady has gone under oath and given sworn testimony as to his version of events.
From the very start of this saga, the National Football League, which embarrassingly attaches the word “integrity” to everything they do, have put out unabashed lie after lie during this case. The activity of the league, its Commissioner Roger Goodell, its officers and officials has been downright criminal.
The national media has been complicit in this sham, with broadcast partners ESPN, NFL Network, CBS, NBC and FOX all refusing to go after the league for the dishonesty with which it has conducted itself. Newspapers, with few individual exceptions, afraid of recrimination such as losing access to the most popular sport in America, also shy away from coming after the league.
This is a rundown of the documented instances in which the NFL either lied, made misleading statements or conflicted its own statements during the deflategate case.
The Two Weeks Following The Game
(1) The leak to Chris Mortensen, (and Peter King and Gerry Austin) saying:
NFL has found that 11 of the Patriots footballs used in Sunday’s AFC title game were under-inflated by 2lbs each, per league source.
This put the court of public opinion firmly against the Patriots. They never really recovered. To this day, Mortensen’s story remains online, only slight edited.
(2) Letter by NFL Official Dave Gardi to Patriots stating that none of the Patriots footballs were up to league required PSI levels, while ALL of the Colts footballs were. He also stated:
In fact, one of the game balls was inflated to 10.1 psi, far below the requirement of 12 1/2 to 13 1/2 psi.
This put the Patriots on the defensive. Now they had this official notice from the league, and Bill Belichick and Tom Brady were forced to try and explain something that hadn’t actually happened. Any hesitation on their part was viewed as evidence of guilt.
(3) Second leak to Mortensen that ALL of the Colts footballs measured up to specifications. On January 22nd, when asked on Twitter whether the Colts’ footballs had been measured, Mortensen answered: Yes, they were within regulation and remained within regulation.
This further cemented the idea that the Patriots had tampered with the footballs, since the Colts’ footballs didn’t change at all.
(4) Roger Goodell appoints NFL VP Jeff Pash and “Independent” investigator Ted Wells to the case. Later, Pash’s role is downplayed by the league, and Wells’ Independent status played up, yet neither was accurate. Wells, who had previously represented the NFL in court and had previously let an investigation in the Miami Dolphins, was hardly independent. The NFL refused to allow NFLPA lawyers to interview Pash, saying his role was minor, while also admitting he had “edited” the final Wells Report.
Gave the public a sense of legitimacy to the investigation by pledging they would be independent and objective. Even if they had no intention of being that.
(5) Dean Blandino is the NFL’s Head of Officiating. When asked prior to the Patriots/Seahawks Super Bowl about whether the NFL tried to run a “sting” against the Patriots, Blandino said:
The issue came up during the first half, as far as I know. There was an issue that was brought up during the first half, a football came into question, and then the decision was made to test them at halftime.
The Wells Report, page 45 states that the day before the game;
Kensil also forwarded Grigson’s email to Dean Blandino and Alberto Riveron, both senior members of the NFL Officiating Department, with the message “see below.” Both Riveron and Blandino decided that they would raise the issue with Walt Anderson, who had been assigned as the referee for the game.
This allowed the league to front the appearance that this was not some planned action on their part, but rather the Patriots being caught “red-handed” in the act of cheating.
(6) When the independence of Wells was questioned by Rachel Nichols at a Super Bowl Press Conference, Goodell instead insisted on the “uncompromising integrity” of his hires and then belittled Nichols. As we saw later, the integrity of Wells’ investigation was compromised right from the start and on numerous occasions thereafter.
(7) At the same press conference, Goodell was asked if Belichick would be held to the same standards as Sean Payton, and whether Goodell is held to the same standard as players and coaches who have to meet with the media everyday. Goodell lied “I’m available to the media almost every day of my job, professionally.”
Post Super Bowl Time Period Leading Up To Release of Wells Report
(8) Pash’s letter to the Patriots declining to correct the erroneous PSI info from Mortensen, saying it would only serve to confuse the issue.
The league allowed the combustible lie about to stand and be considered by the public to the true. Other times in which the media has reported negative things about the league, the NFL has responded quickly, the recent New York Times concussion story being a glaring example.
(9) The anonymous leak to Kelly Naqi of the bogus Kicking-Ball story, in which the Patriots were being accused of also trying to switch out a kicking ball in the middle of the game, was blown up when Adam Schefter called into the live Outside The Lines show on ESPN to shoot the story down, and add in the nugget that it was an NFL employee who had been stealing game footballs who was actually responsible. The Patriots were actually the ones who reported the incident to the NFL.
The above story, while claiming to be a corrected version, is still highly prejudicial against the Patriots and does not actually give the full details which Schefter provided. While not directly related to deflategate, it nonetheless continued the push for the public towards the guilt of the Patriots.
(10) The story of (now fired) NFL employee Scott Miller stealing footballs that were supposed to auctioned off for charity was quickly buried.This is one of the few verified instances of wrongdoing in this entire case and very few details are available. This should actually be a much bigger story than deflategate, but you didn’t hear anything about this after February of 2015.
Burying this story, allows the allegations in #9 above to stand and for the perception that there were more Patriots shenanigans going on.
For Lies 11–25 we refer you to The Background and Myths of “Deflategate” — Separating Fact from Fiction which lays out 15 mistruths contained within the Wells Report. They are:
(11) The NFL’s lawyers told Exponent to assume it took up to 9 minutes of halftime to complete the initial gauging of 11 Patriots’ footballs.
(12) The Colts’ footballs were gauged immediately after the Patriots’ footballs were gauged, and before the Patriots’ footballs were re-inflated and re-gauged.
(13) The Patriots’ footballs were not sufficiently wet to affect their PSI.
(14) The two gauges used at halftime were the Logo and Non-Logo gauges brought to the Game by Referee Walt Anderson.
(15) Referee Anderson used the Non-Logo gauge pre-game.
(16) The PSI measurements pre-game and at halftime were scientifically reliable enough to base definitive conclusions on them.
(17) The Jastremski/McNally texts are evidence of an ongoing, longstanding scheme to deflate footballs below regulation after the Referee’s pre-game inspection.
(18) The Jastremski/McNally texts did not contradict the existence of any deflation scheme.
(19) McNally secretly left the Official’s Locker Room and sneaked into a nearby bathroom.
(20) Tom Brady, despite never having so-stated, and despite all the contrary evidence, wanted to use footballs that were below regulation.
(21) Tom Brady’s statement that he did not think that anyone would tamper with the PSI of the footballs without his knowledge somehow proves that there was tampering and that he knew of it.
(22) Increased communications between Mr. Brady and Mr. Jastremski after the AFC Championship Game is proof that there was tampering and that Brady knew about it.
(23) Autographing a handful of items upon request, or including Mr. Jastremski on a list of over a dozen team staff members for holiday gifts, is evidence of Tom Brady’s guilt.
(24) Tom Brady’s decision not to retain his phone reflects his guilt.
(25) There was no action by any League officials that reflected any predisposition against the Patriots or warranted any criticism.
Please see the linked document above for the full stories on each of these lies.
Addition lies and mistruths within the Wells Report:
(26) Wells’ decision to hire Exponent to do the analysis of the case was perhaps the most most dishonest part of the Wells Report. The firm has a well-known reputation for delivering conclusions that their clients are paying for. The New York Times:
a lengthy scientific report prepared by Exponent, a consulting firm with dubious bona fides, having disputed the dangers of secondhand smoke and asbestos. Exponent was a hired gun, and its conclusions backed Wells’s narrative.
(27)The “disappearance” of both the Pats’ and Colts’ gauges, which could have shown for certain which gauge Anderson used pre-game.
The investigators could not locate either team’s gauge Wells informs us in passing. Very odd, that both teams’ gauges would disappear when either would tend to confirm or rebut the Ref’s memory. How hard did the NFL’s investigators search? We don’t know. The Wells report doesn’t tell us. — Blecker, page 10.
(28) The Wells Report didn’t redact enough of Tom Brady’s phone number, allowing people to guess it and forcing him to change his number.
(29) The lack of any investigation into the league actions by Wells, when he previously said he would.
(30) Wells’ use of the single text that had the word “deflator” in it.
This well-placed item in the table of contents of the Wells Report immediately leads a casual reader to assume that McNally used this term immediately prior to the AFCCG. In reality, the text occurred in May, 2014.
The term appears 16 times in the Wells Report.
(31) Note the images included by Exponent in the Wells Report of the two gauges.
Note what Wells and Exponent did here:
a) They misaligned the gauges to their respective rulers to suggest a smaller size differential.
b) They shot them at such an angle to downplay the distinctive bend in the Non-Logo Gauge’s needle.
c) They enlarged the Non-Logo Gauge picture by about 17% — this shows a clear intention to mislead.
Maybe one of these things happening could be a fluke, but all three?
The report also has this image:
Anderson is quoted as saying his best recollection is that he used the Logo Gauge. The one with the bright red logo, and the needle that is twice as long as the non-logo gauge. A difference that they tried to hide with their tricks in the above images.
There is no way Anderson was uncertain which gauge he used. Yet, the Wells report states
we believe it is more probable that Anderson used the Non-Logo Gauge for his pre-game measurements
(32) Speaking of gauges and Anderson’s recollection that he used the logo gauge, remember, that one provided the higher PSI numbers. Yet, Exponent purchased “several dozen” identical gauges (49 total) for testing, a gauge that exponent says “is thought to be nearly identical to the NonLogo [Lower PSI] Gauge.” So ALL of their testing was done with gauges that would provide results that made the Patriots look worse. (Exponent report within Wells Report, pages 13- 14)
(33) “Neither Exponent nor Paul, Weiss was able to procure exemplar gauges identical to the Logo Gauge.” (Exponent report within Wells Report, page 14)
This was a multi-million dollar investigation. They couldn’t find an identical gauge to test with. On either gauge.
(34) Wells refused to identify to Patriots what he wanted to discuss with McNally in an additional interview. His request went against the conditions the sides had agreed to.
(35) The league and Wells lied about the Patriots “refusing” to make McNally available for a fifth interview. In reality they questioned the necessity of bringing the guy down and having him miss more time from his full time job and instead offered to make him available by telephone. This turned into “the Patriots repeatedly refused to make McNally available for a reinterview” (Wells Report, Footnote 3)
The Wells Report was so slanted it spawned national columns such as this one:
Brady's Legacy Is Forever Scarred
Tom Brady lied. That's the "more probable than not" conclusion reached by super sleuth Ted Wells, whose comprehensive…
Brady Appeal/Court Actions
(36) The leak to Stephen A. Smith (from Troy Vincent?) about Brady’s phone being “destroyed” right before Goodell’s appeal ruling was to be released to the public. Another misleading leak designed to be prejudicial against Brady in the public eye, when in fact, Brady’s attorney had offered to provide records of all correspondence on the phone, and the league chose not to follow up. Buried in a footnote of Goodell’s ruling:
“After the hearing and after the submission of post-hearing briefs, Mr. Brady’s certified agents offered to provide a spreadsheet that would identify all of the individuals with whom Mr. Brady had exchanged text messages during [the relevant time] period; the agents suggested that the League could contact those individuals and request production of any relevant text messages that they retained. Aside from the fact that, under Article 46, Section 2(f) of the CBA, such information could and should have been provided long before the hearing, the approach suggested in the agents’ letter — which would require tracking down numerous individuals and seeking consent from each to retrieve from their cellphones detailed information about their text message communications during the relevant period — is simply not practical.”
So a multi-million dollar investigation into the Ideal Gas Law is more practical than doing actual work.
(37) No notice was given to Brady that not relinquishing his phone or phone records would be a punishable offense. He had been told the opposite, yet it was a major part of Goodell’s ruling.
The ruling noted that Brady directed that the cellphone investigators had sought to glean electronic communications from in the case be destroyed, even though Brady knew when he had it destroyed that investigators wanted it.
(38) The league denied Brady’s attorneys to access any of the investigation notes, instead claiming that “the substance of the interviews was reflected in the Wells Report.” A laughable statement given the lack of accuracy and truthfulness of the Report.
(39) After naming Jeff Pash as the co-lead investigator with Wells, and letting him, as NFL lead counsel edit the “independent” report, the NFL refused to allow Pash to be questioned on ground of attorney-client privilege.
(40) NFL used Lorin Reisner, a partner at Paul, Weiss as their representative at Brady’s hearing. Paul, Weiss, of course was the firm in which Ted Wells, the lead investigator of the case was also a partner. The NFL saw no issue with this obvious conflict.
(40) Goodell lied when he told the press that the NFL “absolutely” did not order the Patriots to suspend McNally and Jastremski. This was was shown to be a lie when it was revealed that the Patriots needed the NFL’s permission to reinstate them.
(41) An NFL Leak to Judy Battista that said Brady wanted the record of the appeal sealed when it was actually the exact opposite.
There were settlement talks that might have saved both sides from an ugly battle, but among the sticking points, according to a person familiar with the conversations, was that the NFL Players Association and Brady’s representatives wanted the record of the appeal sealed.
In reality, Brady’s camp proposed during the hearing that the transcript should be made public. The NFL never expected the transcript to actually be released, so they made this damaging (false) leak.
(42) The lies spread in the press about Brady willing to accept a smaller suspension, not wanting to go to court, not wanting discovery, and trying to negotiate a compromise.
(43) Because of the flaws in the Wells Report, Goodell and the league’s language escalated about Brady’s alleged role with each successive document submitted. It went from “more probable than not” that Brady was “generally aware” of the actions by the staffer to Brady “participated in a scheme to tamper with the game balls after they had been approved by the game officials for use in the AFC Championship Game,'” to a comparison to the 1919 “Black Sox” cheating scandal.
(43) In his ruling uploading Brady’s suspension, Goodell lied that Brady claimed he never spoke to Jastremski about the ball deflation in the days following the AFCC.
(44) When the Brady/Patriots punishment was handed down, Goodell made it clear that it was Troy Vincent’s call. When Brady appealed and the NFLPA pointed out that the CBA only allows the Commissioner to hand out such discipline, Goodell lied and stated that Vincent merely “communicated” the discipline “authorized” by the commissioner.
(45)The Commissioner compared Brady’s actions of allegedly being “generally aware” of football deflation to the Black Sox cheating scandal of 1919. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers openly brags of trying to get over-inflated footballs past the officials scrutiny, and absolutely nothing comes of it. We thought the Officials were checking every ball?
(46) On Rodgers, Troy Vincent was questioned during the appeal as to why there was no investigation into the remarks by the Packers QB. His answer:
The way I’m reading, this is a post-game comment and there is no need for us to react or overreact.
The comment was actually made pre-game, as it was to CBS broadcasters Jim Nantz and Phil Simms in the week prior to the game. And no need to react? Why then react to Colts accusations?
(47) Brady was punished using the competitive integrity policy — which applies only to clubs, has never applied to players previously, and who do not even receive a copy of the policy.
(48) On page 229 of the Appeal Troy Vincent stated that Colts GM Ryan Grigson came to them during the game and informed them of the situation. In the Wells Report, page 64, Grigson says Vincent and Mike Kensil knew about it before he told them and were already making plans to measure the footballs at halftime. Someone is lying.
(49) Goodell compared Brady’s alleged actions to that of a player violating the league policy on steroid use. Another ridiculous statement the only purpose of which was to paint Brady in the poorest light possible. Meanwhile, allegations in national media about Peyton Manning’s involvement with HGH have been hushed by the NFL.
(50) NFL repeatedly referred to the Wells Report as having all the answers necessary. Even when it didn’t.
(51) Following the NFL’s loss in Judge Berman’s Federal Courtroom, on the same morning, the following things happened — ESPN.com ran an extensive story about the Patriots cheating history, using 90 anonymous sources, Sports Illustrated ran a similar online piece outling the things Patriots opponents do to avoid being cheated, and Goodell made an appearance on ESPN radio’s Mike and Mike show. The PR push can hardly be a coincidence. Both articles were filled with NFL leaks about various instances, in some case, completely inaccurate.
(52) Texans owner Bob McNair blamed Brady and the Patriots for “escalating “deflategate and repeated the lies that Brady and the Patriots did not cooperate and took a shot at Brady by saying his star, J.J. Watt, would never have destroyed his phone.
(53) Just weeks earlier, On a 12-degree day in November, a Minnesota Vikings attendant was seen during a game warming up footballs on the sideline with a heater. This incident was brought up in the appeal and Goodell addressed it thusly:
there was no evidence of any intentional attempt to violate or circumvent the rules, no player involvement, and no effort to conceal the ball attendant’s conduct.
Vincent described it as “a game ball employee that took it upon himself to warm a football.” The lack of consistency in how situations are looked at and handled is mind-boggling.
(54) Bill Leavy was a veteran NFL official whose name surfaced in the Wells Report because during a game between the Patriots and Jets, the Patriots footballs measured at 16 PSI. He was quietly reassigned/promoted by the league following the season. Why?
(55) NFL lawyers flat out lied to the Second Circuit Judges in court.
(56) NFL claim that McNally was always escorted to the field, but “snuck out” during AFCCG.
There likely are more out there which I haven’t included here. I think this is enough to establish a “pattern of behavior” on the part of the National Football League.
Very few people believe anything the NFL says. Apparently however, plenty of people out there take them at their word when they say that Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are cheaters. Can you really trust the NFL when they make that claim?
I think the answer is obvious.