The NFL refused to correct the false reports that stemmed from league leaks for no apparent reason. This wasn't the case of a single rogue employee, but a potentially coordinated approach by multiple persons because these false leaks stemmed from multiple sources.
The Patriots requested that the "independent" investigation look into those responsible for these false leaks because it would imply that there were persons within the offices that were actively trying to portray the Patriots and DeflateGate in a negative light.
According to a Letter from Patriots lawyer Daniel Goldberg to NFL Genera Counsel Jeff Pash, the NFL requested that Ted Wells not look into the leaks, but instead that the league would investigate on their own. Emphasis my own.
We learned last night from Ted that the issue of how League personnel handled the pursuit of the low psi issues, including whether there were inappropriate prejudgments and unfounded presumptions of wrongdoing, selective leaks of information and misinformation, failure to correct obviously misreported information, and the like, are not part of what the Paul Weiss firm has been asked to investigate. I understand that the League has opted to investigate those matters internally. Because of the significance of these issues, their obvious interrelationship to the matters being pursued by the Paul Weiss firm, and the benefits of having them investigated by individuals who are not employees of the League (particularly since they involve the conduct of high level League employees), the Patriots ask that the League add these issues to the matters that are being independently investigated. In our view, League personnel's serious mishandling of this psi issue during and after the AFC Championship Game has caused the Patriots grievous harm. As a member club, we think this issue is no less serious than the related issues now in the hands of independent investigators and even more appropriate to be pursued by those who are not League employees, since they involve the conduct of other League employees.
If the NFL were as innocent as Jeff Pash declared time and time again, why would the NFL be afraid of an "independent" investigation (see how jump in logic that works?). Turns out, the league's own internal investigation will be worth just as much as the Wells Report- ie: worthless.
And this is coming from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in his verdict on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's appeal. Emphasis my own.
The NFLPA takes the position that because the NFL asserted attorney-client privilege for certain of its communications with Paul, Weiss and because a Paul, Weiss attorney asked questions of witnesses at the appeal hearing, the investigation was not "independent." For the reasons stated in the text, among others, I disagree. But this disagreement does not matter: If the entire investigation had been conducted by in-house NFL employees instead of an outside law firm, I would still view it as a thorough and reliable basis for my findings and conclusions and a thorough and detailed means of providing Mr. Brady and the NFLPA notice of the conduct detrimental for which the suspension was imposed.
I think it's a lie that Goodell was never interested in finding the truth. He had it. He was afraid of it. He wanted it buried. He knew that any investigation inside his office would reveal that the league was responsible for how the false information was disseminated and that would turn the focus away from Tom Brady and the Patriots and back towards the general incompetence of the league office.
That's why Goodell didn't care if an external or internal investigator created the report. As soon as the false reports were leaked, if the league office didn't continue to direct the investigation and the public narrative, then the boat would flip and Goodell would drown beneath the waves of yet another botched discipline by the league.
I wonder what the NFL was hiding with their attorney-client privilege.