The post comes one day after the NFL decided to uphold its four-game suspension of the New England Patriots quarterback for his alleged role in deflating footballs prior to the AFC Championship Game in January. Deflated balls are believed to be easier to catch and reducing air pressure in footballs is a violation of NFL rules.
An NFL-led investigation determined that Brady was “generally aware” of a plot to gain an unfair advantage.
Brady wrote that he is “very disappointed” with the league’s decision and singled out NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for criticism. “He dismissed my hours of testimony and it is disappointing that he found it unreliable,” the quarterback said.
“Most importantly, I have never written, texted, emailed to anybody at anytime, anything related to football air pressure before this issue was raised at the AFC Championship game in January. To suggest that I destroyed a phone to avoid giving the NFL information it requested is completely wrong,” Brady added.
On Wednesday, the NFL doubled down on their decision in light of the fact that Brady had his cell phone destroyed the day he was scheduled to meet with attorney Ted Wells, who was leading the league’s investigation. According to the NFL, Brady had the phone in question for just four months and that it contained nearly 10,000 text messages, many of which would have been vital to their investigation. Those texts are now irretrievable.
“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 NFL said in their decision. The league also claimed that Brady offered “no explanation for why his phone was destroyed” and didn’t notify them about its destruction until just a few days before his appeal hearing in June.
In his Facebook message, Brady wrote there are several problems with this “narrative.”
The quarterback said he “replaced” a broken Samsung phone with an iPhone 6, only after the league told him that his damaged phone’s contents would not be relevant to their investigation. He also said he was never informed that if he got rid of his phone he might be subjected to punishment for it.
Brady added that he had allowed the NFL Players Association to negotiate a settlement with the NFL but that the suspension was upheld without a counter-offer. Now his only recourse is to take the league to court, an unprecedented turn of events for arguably the most recognizable face in the most popular sport in the U.S.
“I respect the Commissioners [sic] authority, but he also has to respect the [collective bargaining agreement] 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 said in the post.
The NFLPA, the Patriots and Brady’s attorney had all previously come forward to reject the league’s decision.
Meanwhile, the NFL appears confident that their May ruling against Brady was correct.
Goodell, who has become a controversial figure because of his past handling of domestic abuse controversies and player punishments, said in a statement Tuesday that Brady “engaged in conduct detrimental to the integrity of, and public confidence in, the game of professional football.”
This week, the league instituted new rules on how to gauge air pressure in footballs going forward.