In his effort to make a bad situation better, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had somehow made it worse.
The 20-page, single-spaced ruling from Commissioner Roger Goodell explains that, in materials submitted by Brady only days before the June 23 hearing, Brady admitted that he destroyed the cell phone that would have contained text messages sent and received during the time period most relevant to the #DeflateGate controversy.
Although characterized as Brady’s habit when purchasing a new cell phone, Goodell’s ruling explains that Brady knew that Ted Wells and company wanted to examine the phone that was coincidentally destroyed and replaced on March 6, the same day that Brady met with Wells. Brady, per Goodell, never suggested that the cell phone had been (or would be) destroyed during that meeting.
It’s a very bad look for Brady, and it’s a highly questionable tactic to affirmatively admit that the phone was destroyed in materials submitted to Goodell in connection with the appeal. As a result, Brady’s receipt of bad advice or his deliberate decision to ignore good advice has now extended from the decision not to accept the invitation to allow lawyer/agent Don Yee to personally review the text messages from the phone to the decision to admit that the cell phone was destroyed.
What benefit does Brady derive from disclosing that in the appeal? Even if it’s his habit to get rid of the phone and the data card within it whenever getting a new phone, that habit must yield to an ongoing investigation in which the contents of the phone and the data card have been deemed to be relevant. And so it’s reasonable to assume that Brady was trying to hide something.
Moreover, the decision to destroy the phone under those circumstances confirms the stereotypical “I do what I want” attitude that a multi-million-dollar quarterback with a supermodel wife and a house with a moat would be expected to project. The decision to admit the destruction of the phone in paperwork aimed at contesting the suspension suggests that Brady was represented by the law firm of Moe, Larry, and Shemp.
Apart from the relevance that the destroyed cell phone may or may not have to the looming legal challenge, this news turns the tables dramatically in the court of public opinion. With nothing in Goodell’s 20-page ruling hinting at the same kind of flaws that were lurking in the 243-page Ted Wells report, it’s going to be very difficult for the #FreeBrady crowd to find a cob of corn into which they can sink their teeth.
But if there’s another side to this story, Brady and company need to disclose it, quickly. Before they do, they need to be certain that whatever is said will actually make this very bad situation better.