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Tom Brady

Source: Ron Elkman/Sports Imagery / Ron Elkman/Sports Imagery/Getty

On Tuesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for his role in using underinflated footballs during the AFC championship game.  Then the players’ union made its final decision to take it all to court.

According to Goodell, the New England quarterback gave his assistant instructions to destroy Brady’s cellphone around March 6, which is the same day that Brady met with investigator Ted Wells. Goodell also said that:

“He did so even though he was aware that the investigators had requested access to text messages and other electronic information that had been stored on that phone.  During the four months that the cellphone was in use, Brady had exchanged nearly 10,000 text messages, none of which can now be retrieved from that device.”

Even though Wells’ investigation had no subpoena power, which means that Brady was under no legal obligation to cooperate investigators wanted to see if Brady’s cellphone had other messages related to footballs.  The quarterback was suspended in May; the Patriots were fined $1 million and docked a pair of draft picks. The team didn’t appeal the punishment it was dealt, however Brady appealed.

The NFL Players Association released a statement on Tuesday saying:

“The NFL resorted to a nebulous standard of ‘general awareness’ to predicate a legally unjustified punishment, the NFL violated the plain meaning of the collective bargaining agreement.”

Brady’s agent, Don Yee argued that Brady’s side only had four hours to present a defense, and his request for documents from Wells was denied on the basis of privilege.  Yee also said that the electronic data that was presented in Brady’s defense was ignored during the appeal hearing.

Brady and the Patriots both have denied knowingly using the deflated footballs in the AFC title game win over the Indianapolis Colts.  Brady, who turns 38 on Aug. 3, will miss the first four games this season unless the case goes to court.

Ironically Brady would return against the Colts on Oct. 18 in Indianapolis.

 

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