The agent for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is coming out swinging in response to the Ted Wells Deflategate report, claiming that the league set up the Patriots and that a skewed investigation was designed to smear Brady.
“The Wells report, with all due respect, is a significant and terrible disappointment,” agent Don Yee said in a statement. “Its omission of key facts and lines of inquiry suggest the investigators reached a conclusion first, and then determined so-called facts later.”
Yee says that when the Colts raised questions about the Patriots’ footballs prior to the AFC Championship Game, the NFL should have warned the Patriots that their footballs would be tested.
“One item alone taints this entire report,” Yee says. “What does it say about the league office’s protocols and ethics when it allows one team to tip it off to an issue prior to a championship game, and no league officials or game officials notified the Patriots of the same issue prior to the game? This suggests it may be more probable than not that the league cooperated with the Colts in perpetrating a sting operation. The Wells report buries this issue in a footnote on page 46 without any further elaboration. The league is a significant client of the investigators’ law firm; it appears to be a rich source of billings and media exposure based on content in the law firm’s website. This was not an independent investigation and the contents of the report bear that out – all one has to do is read closely and critically, as opposed to simply reading headlines.”
Yee also says that contrary to suggestions that Brady did not cooperate with investigators, Brady patiently explained details of how footballs are prepared prior to games. According to Yee, the most important parts of Brady’s testimony in front of the Wells investigators were left out of the report.
“The investigators’ assumptions and inferences are easily debunked or subject to multiple interpretations,” Yee says. “Much of the report’s vulnerabilities are buried in the footnotes, which is a common legal writing tactic. It is a sad day for the league as it has abdicated the resolution of football-specific issues to people who don’t understand the context or culture of the sport. I was physically present for my client’s interview. I have verbatim notes of the interview. Tom made himself available for nearly an entire day and patiently answered every question. It was clear to me the investigators had limited understanding of professional football. For reasons unknown, the Wells report omitted nearly all of Tom’s testimony, most of which was critical because it would have provided this report with the context that it lacks. Mr. Wells promised back in January to share the results of this investigation publicly, so why not follow through and make public all of the information gathered and let the public draw its own conclusions? This report contains significant and tragic flaws, and it is common knowledge in the legal industry that reports like this generally are written for the benefit of the purchaser.”
Yee’s statement strongly suggests that Brady is ready for a fight. With the NFL considering a suspension, a fight between the league and one of its biggest stars appears unavoidable.