The NFL continues to change the charges and degree of dastardly deviations by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during the DeflateGate proceedings. Here's a written history of the moving goal posts. Money quotes emphasized.
"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."
-Wells Report, May 6th, 2015
"With respect to your particular involvement, the report established that there is substantial and credible evidence to conclude you were at least generally aware of the actions of the Patriots' employees involved in the deflation of the footballs and that it was unlikely that their actions were done without your knowledge. Moreover, the report documents your failure to cooperate fully and candidly with the investigation, including by refusing to produce any relevant electronic evidence (emails, texts, etc.) despite being offered extraordinary safeguards by the investigators to protect unrelated personal information, and by providing testimony that the report concludes was not plausible and contradicted by other evidence.
"Your actions as set forth in the report clearly constitute conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the game of professional football."
-Troy Vincent punishment letter, May 12th, 2015
"In short, the available electronic evidence, coupled with information compiled in the investigators' interviews, leads me to conclude that Mr. Brady knew about, approved of, consented to, and provided inducements and rewards in support of a scheme by which, with Mr. Jastremski's support, Mr. McNally tampered with the game balls. The result was to undermine, if not vitiate, the game officials' efforts to ensure that the game balls used by the Patriots complied with league rules."
"The evidence fully supports my findings that (1) Mr. Brady participated in a scheme to tamper with the game balls after they had been approved by game officials for use in the AFC Championship Game and (2) Mr. Brady willfully obstructed the investigation by, among other things, affirmatively arranging for destruction of his cellphone knowing that it contained potentially relevant information that had been requested by the investigators. All of this indisputably constitutes conduct detrimental to the integrity of, and public confidence in, the game of professional football."
-Roger Goodell decision on Tom Brady's appeal, July 28th, 2015
"The Commissioner presided over Brady's appeal and, after taking into account "the entire record, including Mr. Brady's testimony, the credibility of other witnesses and the documentary evidence" including Brady's acknowledgment "that the Patriots' equipment personnel would not do anything to a game ball that was inconsistent with what he wanted" he found that Brady "knew about, approved of, consented to, and provided inducements" in support of a scheme to tamper with the game balls used in the AFC Championship Game. Award at 8, 10; see id. (relying on, among other things, Brady's spike in communications with equipment personnel immediately after the deflation incident and the fact that one Patriots equipment manager referred to himself as the "deflator" and to the use of a "needle").
"The Commissioner further concluded that Brady had failed to cooperate fully with the investigation by refusing to share with investigators potentially relevant text messages and e-mails that they had requested. That conclusion was "reinforce[d]" by the revelation at the hearing that, on the eve of meeting with investigators, Brady directed that his cell phone be destroyed, causing the permanent loss of "potentially relevant evidence with knowledge that the evidence had been sought in the investigation." Id. at 11, 14. Brady failed to inform the investigators that he had destroyed his cellphone containing the relevant evidence, and "offered no explanation" for doing so. Id. at 1-2, 12."
-NFL filing to Judge Richard Berman, August 7th, 2015
"The Commissioner suspended Tom Brady, quarterback on the New England Patriots, for four games after finding that Brady had participated in a scheme to deflate game balls to be used in a conference championship game. The scheme was aimed at gaining an unfair competitive advantage on the field, and it was devised to avoid detection by game officials. It struck at the heart of the game's integrity and the public's confidence in the NFL's on-field product. The Commissioner's conduct detrimental authority exists for incidents just like this."
-NFL filing to Court of Appeals, October 26th, 2015
"Appellees claim a lack of "notice" only by refusing to accept the Commissioner's finding that Brady did not just have "general awareness" of, but actually participated in, the all-tampering scheme."
"In this case, the Commissioner exercised his authority to conclude that efforts to tamper with game balls in a League Championship game and then to destroy evidence in order to avoid responsibility posed a threat to the integrity of the game and the public's confidence in the League's on-field product. And the Commissioner found as a matter of fact that Brady had participated in a scheme to tamper with the game balls through conduct that deliberately skirted official testing protocol, and that he had destroyed relevant evidence to obstruct an investigation into the wrongdoing. If that sequence of dishonest conduct does not qualify as "conduct detrimental," it is hard to imagine what would."
-NFL response to NFLPA filing to Court of Appeals, December 21st, 2015
Sources tell Chris Mortensen a revealing new fact about the appeals hearing process over the course of DeflateGate. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady apparently forced NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's head into a toilet and repeatedly flushed it while stating, "take that, nerd!" Goodell and the NFL agreed to strike these motions from the record out of the goodness of their heart.
-NFL leak to ESPN after Court of Appeals overrules NFL, March 3rd, 2016
Today's date: June 23rd 2015
And then Tom forced me to hold this pen while I was taking copious amounts of notes to help this league I love so very much uphold the integrity that everyone loves. Every time I wrote a sentence, I suffered a screaming pain as the words I must not tell lies etched into the back of my hand. Tom drank tea out of a cup with cats on it. Every time. I must not tell lies. I must not tell lies. Tom grinned every time I winced. He's a bad man and I am so innocent. Until next time.
-Excerpt from NFL leak of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's diary, August 16th, 2016
I swear Tom had metaphorically chopped my hand off while Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was cackling in the background.
"Search your feelings," Tom glowered. "You know it to be true. I am innocent."
"Noooooooooo," I cried out, because we had compiled all of the information and Roger selectively leaked quotes to the media to make sure that his innocence wouldn't be known. I was just trying to hand out the punishment allowed by the Collective Bargaining Agreement!
Tom metaphorically tried to cut me in half and kick me through a hole in the floor, but I managed to get away after handing over the letter. But I'm totally the victim here.
-Troy Vincent's testimony in the NFL filing to the Supreme Court, February 23rd, 2017
I had just rescued a kitten from a stampede of traffic down Sixth Avenue, on my way to the appeal hearing in August, but as I climbed the steps to get inside the courthouse, I was tripped, hit my head on the marble stairs, and was totally not concussed. I tried to crawl my way up the stairs inside and saw Tom entering the building at the same time.
"Tom!," I cried as I extended my hand in a manner of respect. "Friend, help me!"
Tom sneered down at me and stepped on my hand.
"Long live the King," Tom spat as he kicked me back down the stairs.
-Roger Goodell's testimony in the NFL filing to the Supreme Court, February 23rd, 2017
"DeMaurice Smith wishes me to let Tom Brady join the Commissioner's Exempt List... stripped of all titles and powers he would serve the realm in permanent exile. And Robert Kraft has begged mercy for his quarterback. But they have the soft hearts of women... so long as I'm your King treason shall never go unpunished! Troy Vincent, bring me his head!"
-Electronic communications between Roger Goodell, Ryan Grigson, and Mike Kensil, leaked April 8th, 2018