According to Giardi’s sources, a “lengthy suspension” could end up being in the six- to eight-game range.
Obviously, Brady can, and most likely would, appeal any suspension handed down from the league. However, even if a suspension is reduced from six to eight games, Brady could still be looking at a three to four-game ban.
We’ll provide updates regarding possible discipline as the news is available.
Howe’s source stressed that nothing official has been relayed to the Patriots at this point in time, but there is a feeling that this situation could be resolved at some point in the near future.
Jason Cole of the Bleacher Report spoke to an NFL source who mentioned the league stands by their investigation of the Patriots, which included a preponderance of evidence that shows Brady was at least aware of what was going on.
Cole’s source considers a suspension for Brady to be “likely” with the Patriots receiving a fine. Since the Ted Wells report was released, nothing has come up that would diminish the league’s case in the view of the NFL.
Patriots owner Bob Kraft said that they will accept any discipline handed down from the NFL, as the league’s constitution says it’s “unappealable,” per Michael McCann.
However, if Brady were to be sanctioned, he can obviously appeal the league’s ruling.
Florio writes: “In a league that routinely suspends players for smoking marijuana and/or engaging in off-duty behavior that has no direct impact on the integrity of the playing of the game of football, how can the NFL not suspend Brady for his general awareness of the deflation scheme and for deliberately refusing to provide information that may have made his involvement even more obvious?”
During the Brett Favre texting incident, the NFL fined him $50,000 for failing to fully cooperate with the league’s investigation. However, Florio writes that the difference between Farve’s situation and Brady’s case is that what happened with Farve had no connection to the integrity of the game of football.
“[I]t’s hard at this point to envision Brady not being suspended,” writes Florio. “And it’s hard to come up with a good reason why he shouldn’t be — especially since he deliberately refused to fully cooperate with one of the most significant investigations that the NFL has conducted regarding game-integrity violations in recent years.”
Mike Freeman of the Bleacher Report spoke to a source close to the investigation who mentioned that a suspension for Brady is “definitely on the table.”
“Not set but could be part of the mix. All options are on the table,” Freeman’s source added.
As for the Patriots, Freeman’s source said that this remains a possibility as well, given that there’s a precedent for this.
Freeman mentions that commissioner Roger Goodell has said in the past that ignorance was no excuse for violating league rules, and recently suspended Falcons president Rich McKay for his team piping fake crowd noise into their stadium.
NFL finally released the Ted Wells report on Wednesday after several months and the findings concluded that it’s “more probable than not” the Patriots deflated game balls last season.
“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.“
The report includes text messages exchanged between McNally and Jastremski regarding Brady’s preference for the air pressure in game balls.
Brady refused to fully cooperate in the investigation, according to the report:
“[A]though Tom Brady appeared for a requested interview and answered questions voluntarily, he declined to make available any documents or electronic information (including text messages and emails) that we requested, even though those requests were limited to the subject matter of our investigation (such as messages concerning the preparation of game balls, air pressure of balls, inflation of balls or deflation of balls) and we offered to allow Brady‟s counsel to screen and control the production so that it would be limited strictly to responsive materials and would not involve our taking possession of Brady‟s telephone or other electronic devices. Our inability to review contemporaneous communications and other documents in Brady‟s possession and control related to the matters under review potentially limited the discovery of relevant evidence and was not helpful to the investigation.”
Patriots owner Robert Kraft and HC Bill Belichick have been cleared of any involvement in the matter.
Kraft has released a statement expressing his disappointment with the league’s findings in this matter:
“When I addressed the media at the Super Bowl on January 26 — over 14 weeks ago — I stated that I unconditionally believed that the New England Patriots had done nothing inappropriate in this process or in violation of the NFL rules and that I was disappointed in the way the league handled the initial investigation. That sentiment has not changed.
“I was convinced that Ted Wells’ investigation would find the same factual evidence supported by both scientific formula and independent research as we did and would ultimately exonerate the Patriots. Based on the explanations I have heard and the studies that have been done, I don’t know how the science of atmospheric conditions can be refuted or how conclusions to the contrary can be drawn without some definitive evidence.
“…While I respect the independent process of the investigation, the time, effort and resources expended to reach this conclusion are incomprehensible to me. Knowing that there is no real recourse available, fighting the league and extending this debate would prove to be futile. We understand and greatly respect the responsibility of being one of 32 in this league and, on that basis, we will accept the findings of the report and take the appropriate actions based on those findings as well as any discipline levied by the league.”