Despite winning the 2015 Super Bowl, the New England Patriots have had a cloud hanging over their heads all off-season.
After a bunch of finger pointing from anti-Patriots NFL executives, the NFL “publicly announced that it had retained Theodore V. Wells, Jr. and the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison” to conduct a private investigation into whether or not New England deliberately tampered with balls used in the AFC Championship game.
As the months passed, the case against the Patriots was revealed for what it truly was…
… and this far removed from the scandal, many fans have already forgotten about it. (RELATED: Why Is A Self-Identifying “Patriots Hater” Leading The Deflate-Gate Charge Against New England)
However, on Wednesday, Mr. Wells & company finally released their report to the league. Over the course of 243 pages, Wells claims that two Patriots staffers deliberately deflated balls — which for the record, everyone already knew about — and even goes on to state that Tom Brady not only knew of the infractions, but generally approved of the “inappropriate activities.”
Per the report:
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 above. In particular, we do not believe there was any wrongdoing or knowledge of wrongdoing by Patriots ownership, Head Coach 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.
Wait, wait, wait… That’s it?
108 days on the job and all you can come up with is:
Not only does Wells not produce any new evidence outside of what we’ve learned through “anonymous leaks” from the league, it goes on to slander the greatest quarterback in league history.
The report states that Brady not only knew about the nefarious actions of the locker room attendants, he went out of his way cover up for them, citing a series of text messages as the main evidence to the claim. Still, when you read the texts — which I’ve included below — they don’t specifically implicate Brady.
If anything, I’d say this is evidence that Tom Brady and John Jastremski saw each other on a daily basis, which — for those of you unfamiliar with the NFL — is a pretty common occurrence for a team’s starting quarterback and the locker-room attendant in charge of preparing game balls. But undeniable evidence of a coverup?
There’s no smoking gun. Hell, there’s not even a bloody glove. The information provided in the report is only evidence of Tom Brady being a caring co-worker. To accuse him of anything else — as the league has and continues to do — is not only inappropriate but unethical.