( 4UMF NEWS ) Probe Suggests Tom Brady Was Aware About Deflated Balls:
An investigation into the so-called Deflategate scandal concluded it is more likely than not that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady “was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities” by two team employees that resulted in balls being deflated in January’s AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts.
The report, released Wednesday by attorney Ted Wells, found “it is more probable than not that Jim McNally and John Jastremski participated in a deliberate plan to circumvent the rules by releasing air from Patriots game balls,” but found no wrongdoing by Patriots ownership, coach Bill Belichick and his assistants, or equipment manager Dave Schoenfeld.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft issued an immediate response, saying the organization is disappointed by the report, which lacked “any incontrovertible or hard evidence of deliberate deflation of footballs” after a more than three-month investigation.
In a statement released in conjunction with the report, Commissioner Roger Goodell said NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent and his team “will consider what steps to take in light of the report, both with respect to possible disciplinary action and to any changes in protocols that are necessary to avoid future incidents of this type.
“At the same time, we will continue our efforts vigorously to protect the integrity of the game and promote fair play at all times.”
Asked for comment, the Colts had little to say, offering: “The Indianapolis Colts are aware of the findings in the Wells Report and have no comment.”
The report includes text messages between McNally, the 48-year-old officials locker room attendant for the Patriots, and Jastremski, a 35-year-old equipment assistant, in which McNally outs himself “the deflator” and the two friends discuss Brady’s complaints about the inflation level of game balls in an Oct. 17 game against the New York Jets.
Brady, 37, signed autographs for the pair after the Patriots’ divisional playoff win against the Baltimore Ravens in January, the report said, and communicated with McNally by phone or text message “with significantly increased frequency” in the days after suspicions arose publicly — conversations that were then shared in texts between McNally and Jastremski.
The report notes “there is less direct evidence linking Brady to tampering activities than either McNally or Jastremski.” But after interviews with those two, investigators “do not believe that they would personally and unilaterally engage in such conduct in the absence of Brady‟s awareness and consent.”
Most of the balls New England used in the first half of the AFC title game against the Colts fell below the league-mandated threshold of 12.5 pounds per square inch, theoretically making them easier to grip in adverse weather conditions.