Patriots quarterback Tom Brady could see more of the courtroom this fall than he might see the playing field at Gillette Stadium as on Tuesday, the NFL ruled that it will uphold the four-game suspension given to Brady in connection to his "general awareness" that footballs were under-inflated during this past January's AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.
The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) had implied previously that it intended to take the NFL to court regarding the matter if Brady's entire suspension was not entirely wiped out.
Brady and the NFLPA appealed the suspension on June 23 at the NFL's offices in New York. The league likely upheld the suspension because Brady is said to have destroyed his cellphone. Per a league statement released Tuesday (via the Boston Globe):
“On or shortly before March 6, the day that Tom Brady met with independent investigator Ted Wells and his colleagues, Brady directed that the cell phone he had used for the prior four months be destroyed. He did so even though he was aware that the investigators had requested access to text messages and other electronic information that had been stored on that phone.
“During the four months that the cell phone was in use, Brady had exchanged nearly 10,000 text messages, none of which can now be retrieved from that device. The destruction of the cell phone was not disclosed until June 18, almost four months after the investigators had first sought electronic information from Brady.
“Based on the Wells Report and the evidence presented at the hearing, Commissioner Goodell concluded in his decision that Brady was aware of, and took steps to support, the actions of other team employees to deflate game footballs below the levels called for by the NFL’s Official Playing Rules. The commissioner found that Brady’s deliberate destruction of potentially relevant evidence went beyond a mere failure to cooperate in the investigation and supported a finding that he had sought to hide evidence of his own participation in the underlying scheme to alter the footballs."
The idea that Brady will and should fight this thing until the end seemed prevalent on the streets of downtown Boston Tuesday.
“I think he shouldn’t be targeted, I think its an NFL or team issue so I don’t think he should be personally punished.” –Teagan Anderson, 29, JP
“I think they should’ve punished the team more than punishing him personally because there was no direct evidence that he was involved. But I think that the team should be held accountable because they are liable for who they hire and the people that actually deflated the footballs. I think the punishment was too harsh, I think everyone kind of assumed they would bring it down to two games because the report that they did wasn’t very incriminating.” – Scott Warner, 28, Boston
“I think it was justified at the end of the day the actions of Tom Brady, The Patriots, and others were suspect even though so much is circumstantial the preponderance of the evidence basically demonstrates they were hiding something. At the end of the day of if Goodall, what his role is, as far as the disciplinary actions of all players whether severe or not, they have to follow the rules. There’s a reason the rules are in place. So 4 games? Out of an entire season, granted it’s a 16 game season, I don’t think its too harsh. You cant hide from the rules, you have to follow them.” - Paul Milner, 50, Weymouth
Reporter Christina Beiene contributed to this report