Tuesday was a victory for those who have waited patiently throughout the more than six months (!) that the made-up word “Deflategate” has been part of the American sports lexicon.
No, it’s not over yet. Not even after the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for his role in deflating footballs before the AFC Championship Game was being upheld. The victory is in some of the details that emerged. Here are my five favorite things gleaned Tuesday:
The phone: At the forefront of Goodell’s 20-page ruling in upholding the suspension was the new piece of information that Brady destroyed the cellphone that investigators had sought from him. Brady’s reasoning, as detailed in Goodell’s report, was that he always destroys his phones when he’s done using them. But a phone he had used previously was available for NFL review. And Goodell stated that investigators didn’t need his entire personal call and text inventory — just those relevant to the case.
Add it up and it was a dumb, dumb move by Brady. Even if he and others are right to assert that he doesn’t have to give up personal property, Brady looks very guilty when he has his phone destroyed.
Hold the phone: Brady didn’t take kindly to the Goodell report, as a statement from Don Yee, his agent, attested. In it, the appeals process was called a “sham” and the science from the initial investigation “junk.” It also offers this juicy warning: “The extent to which Tom opened up his private life to the Commissioner will become clear in the coming days.” Fight! Fight!
Goodell the scientist: I don’t know if the science was “junk.” I do know that a good portion of the early part of Goodell’s report focused on air pressure and his understanding of the testimony of scientific experts. It even has a mention of the Ideal Gas Law, which I would imagine is not a thing upon which the commish has a very strong grasp.
Odd references: Page 15 of Goodell’s ruling has a reference to Brett Favre’s texting scandal, in which he drew a fine for not cooperating with investigators, and to an incident of improperly warming a football last season during a Vikings game at TCF Bank Stadium. He uses them to bolster his case for punishing Brady, but both seem tangentially relevant at best.
Far from over: Brady, through the NFLPA, reportedly will appeal the case in federal court and could get an injunction that will allow him to play while the legal process plays out. Remember, Pat and Kevin Williams were busted and suspended initially in the StarCaps case in 2008, but Kevin Williams didn’t serve a suspension until 2011 (and by then, Pat was done in the NFL). The Williamses were part of a lawsuit filed in Minneapolis, and the Brady filing reportedly is coming our way as well.