In dropping the hammer on the Patriots and Tom Brady Monday afternoon, the league made it clear that Brady’s standing in the league and the history of the game wasn’t going to help his case.
Brady was suspended the first four games of the season for his role in tampering with footballs in last year’s AFC Championship Game.
In the letter from NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent, it was spelled out that Brady’s actions and inactions were taken seriously.
“With respect to your particular involvement, the report established that there is substantial and credible evidence to conclude you were at least generally aware of the actions of the Patriots’ employees involved in the deflation of the footballs and that it was unlikely that their actions were done without your knowledge,” Vincent wrote in a letter to Brady. “Moreover, the report documents your failure to cooperate fully and candidly with the investigation, including by refusing to produce any relevant electronic evidence (emails, texts, etc.), despite being offered extraordinary safeguards by the investigators to protect unrelated personal information, and by providing testimony that the report concludes was not plausible and contradicted by other evidence.
“Your actions as set forth in the report clearly constitute conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the game of professional football. The integrity of the game is of paramount importance to everyone in our league, and requires unshakable commitment to fairness and compliance with the playing rules. Each player, no matter how accomplished and otherwise respected, has an obligation to comply with the rules and must be held accountable for his actions when those rules are violated and the public’s confidence in the game is called into question.”
There will be an immediate impact for the team, but the greater harm may come to Brady’s reputation, which was previously simply that he was one of the best players in the history of the game.