New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady remains suspended for the first four games of the 2015 regular season because today the NFL upheld its ruling on the suspension pertaining to the so-called deflategate scandal.
Brady had appealed the suspension through the NFLPA.
Commissioner Roger Goodell released the findings minutes ago, along with a signed 20-page document that not only tells us Brady's suspension is upheld but offers indicting details that suggest Brady actively covered up attempts to get at the truth of whether he was directly or indirectly involved in tampering with footballs prior to the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.
The following from Goodell:
"The most significant new information that emerged in connection with the appeal was evidence that on or about March 6, 2015 -- the very day that he was interviewed by Mr. [Ted] Wells and his investigative team -- Mr. Brady instructed his assistant to destroy the cellphone that he had been using since early November 2014, a period that included the AFC Championship Game and the initial weeks of the subsequent investigation. During the four months that it was in use, almost 10,000 text messages were sent or received by Mr. Brady using that cellphone. At the time that he arranged for its destruction Mr. Brady knew that Mr. Wells and his team had requested information from that cellphone in connection with their investigation. Despite repeated requests for that information, beginning in mid-February 2015 and continuing during his March, 6, 2015 interview by the investigators, information indicating that Mr. Brady might have destroyed his cellphone was not disclosed until months later, on June 18, 2015, and not confirmed until the day of the hearing itself."
So Brady, knowing investigator Ted Wells wanted his cellphone, ordered that very cellphone destroyed. He testified at the appeals hearing that it is his habit to destroy cellphones after a certain period of time.
The texts in the destroyed cellphone, the NFL has been told, are not recoverable.
Brady obviously can seeks injunctive relief through the federal courts. It is unclear whether he'll do that or not. Remember, the Patriots as an organization decided to not appeal sanctions against the organization even as their star quarterback went forward with his appeal.
But the fact Brady actively ordered the destruction of evidence calls his claim of innocence into question. Innocent people don't destroy evidence.
If the suspension survives a court challenge, it is obviously important news around the AFC East. It obviously can affect the Miami Dolphins chances of winning the division.