Why didn’t Goodell increase Brady’s suspension?

As noted last night, the NFL has gotten plenty of things wrong in the #DeflateGate saga. But it has mastered the art and science of public relations.

The league delivered what seemed as of Tuesday afternoon to be the death blow to Brady’s case, at least in the court of public opinion, by declaring in Commissioner Roger Goodell’s 20-page ruling released to the media (curiously, the ruling in the Greg Hardy case that knocked the Commissioner’s punishment from 10 games to four was not released to the media) and in the press release accompanying the ruling that “important new information” was discovered during the appeal process.

“On or shortly before March 6, the day that Tom Brady met with independent investigator Ted Wells and his colleagues, Brady directed that the cell phone he had used for the prior four months be destroyed,”  the four-paragraph press release states in paragraph three. “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 cell phone was in use, Brady had exchanged nearly 10,000 text messages, none of which can now be retrieved from that device. The destruction of the cell phone was not disclosed until June 18, almost four months after the investigators had first sought electronic information from Brady.”

That paragraph evoked a “wow” from anyone who read it. Multiple members of the media declared that the revelation was “shocking.” It galvanized the opinions of those who believe Brady is guilty, and it left those who believe in him with one less reason to believe.

But here’s the biggest flaw of logic in that arguably trumped-up disclosure. If this really was “new information” that Brady concealed during his meeting with Ted Wells (as noted at the bottom of page 12 of the ruling), why didn’t “The Enforcer” attempt to impose greater discipline on Brady than the four-game suspension levied without knowing that he had “destroyed” his cell phone?

Goodell calls the development “very troubling” at page 13 of the ruling, accusing Brady of a “deliberate effort to ensure that investigators would never have access to information he had been asked to produce,” of “conceal[ing] potentially relevant evidence to undermine the investigation,” and of “conceal[ing] for months that he had destroyed the cellphone requested by the investigators.”

In other words, Goodell determined that this new information meant Brady hadn’t simply failed to cooperate with the investigation but that he had affirmatively obstructed it. Which, if true, should have resulted in new and enhanced penalties.

But the 20-page, single-spaced ruling never addresses the obvious consequence to the conclusion that, only five days before the hearing, Brady shot himself in the foot with a smoking gun that proves an intentional effort to hide evidence.

At a minimum, the case should have been immediately remanded to Troy Vincent (or to whoever actually made the original decision) for proceedings aimed at exploring whether Brady’s previously unknown conduct justifies separate discipline. But that didn’t happen, possibly (probably) because a full-blown examination of the issue would have undermined the very useful P.R. message that Tom Brady destroyed his cell phone.

Already, Brady has offered an alternative explanation, beyond the one that appeared tucked into footnote 11 on page 12 of the ruling. If the NFL had done what seemed logical and reasonable in light of this brand-new notion that Tom Brady destroyed his cell phone and commissioned a full-blown examination of the issue, the end result may have diluted the P.R. message that rocketed from coast to coast on Tuesday afternoon, on the trail that had been blazed by the seemingly outrageous disclosure from Stephen A. Smith on Tuesday morning that Tom Brady destroyed his cell phone.

The league wants us all to believe that. But if the league truly believed it, the league should have done more than simply use it to justify the suspension that already had been imposed.

79 responses to “Why didn’t Goodell increase Brady’s suspension?

  1. Loving every minute of this. Every story, everytime the punishment is upheld it’s oh so delicious.

    Thank you Tom Brady for doing this for the other 31 fanbases. You’ve successfully convinced your blind fans that they can interpret law like lawyers, and can interpret science like scientists.

    But the greatest gift of them all is the warmth from the pats brats tears raining down from Boston. So nice.

  2. Brady could do the worse thing imaginable to a Patriot fan’s mother and that fan would blame his mother.

  3. NFL tried to get Brady to save face, but he didn’t take the deal. This news (of him purposely breaking phone) might not have even come out had he taken the deal.

    I guess TB is going to take this one to the grave.

  4. The consequence of destroying the phone was that an adverse inference could be drawn against him. That’s a huge blow. Whether he destroyed or withheld the evidence from the phone is inconsequential — the reality is it was intentionally withheld from the investigation. The offer to “find” the evidence only after determining they were screwed was disingenuous. Tom Brady did destroy his cell phone. That’s not a narrative, that’s a damning fact.

  5. Typical..Patriot Lover

    The logic of this…If it was really all that bad, then he should have been punished more. However, since the suspension wasn’t increased, it must be a farce.

  6. Florio stop being a slimy lawyer and see the truth. Regardless of eveything that has happened Tom Brady was defiant to the NFL and refused to fully cooperate. That is what this comes down to and any judge will see this.

  7. More imaginary straw-man scenarios for the lemmings.

    You keep sellin’ it and they keep buyin’ it. 🙂

  8. Brady told them that they wouldn’t get the phone even if he didn’t break it so there was absolutely no reason to give more punishment because they were never getting the phone anyway.

  9. Patriots Football Talk strikes again. Florio will grasp ANY straw, latch on to ANY explanation that might make Brady look slightly less guilty. Face it, the rest of the NFL hates the Patriots because they’re a bunch of dirty cheaters. It’s come up repeatedly, and denying or attempting to rationalize the facts doesn’t make them go away.

  10. If Brady sues in federal court can he avoid taking the stand? Or answering a judge?

    Are the thresholds for perjury the same in civil cases?

  11. “But it has mastered the art and science of public relations.”

    Oh they have, have they? That’s news to me.

  12. Apparently the league won’t be operated correctly until Florio is commissioner since he has all the answers.

  13. The NFL cares nothing about truth in this matter. Every step is designed to paint Brady in a bad light and cover their asses for being the most incompetent administration any major sport has ever seen in the USA. They throw something out there knowing the small minded people will believe the spin (including the vast majority of the media), and never, never, never bother to examine the evidence. How will the NFL , after the collection of PSI evidence this year exonerates Brady and the Patriots, lie to cover it up?

  14. “only five days before the hearing, Brady shot himself in the foot with a smoking gun that proves an intentional effort to hide evidence.”

    How does destroying the phone prove an intentional effort to hide evidence beyond the already known info that Brady told them they would never, ever get their hands on his cell phone?

    Doesn’t matter if he destroyed it or stuck it in a sock drawer. It was never going to be handed over. Period.

  15. If you looked through Goodell’s 20-page announcement, the reason why the punishment stayed at four games was because Goodell equated it with a player attempting to circumvent a drug test through falsification or a masking agent. Any attempt to circumvent the testing will result in a four-game punishment, even without PEDs being detected, and Brady’s deliberate attempt to destroy any possible evidence in this investigation was seen in a similar light.

  16. Its in the wording: Destroyed versus broken.

    Destroyed would indicate a conscious effort to hide the information. That he did something sinister

    Broken just means his cell phone no longer worked and he replaced it, just like anyone else would.

    Look, the league has said all along they did not need the phone, Wells stated he just wanted records from Brady, correct? So, why does the league now want the phone so bad?

  17. bren4816 says:
    Jul 29, 2015 9:03 AM
    If Brady sues in federal court can he avoid taking the stand? Or answering a judge?

    Are the thresholds for perjury the same in civil cases?


    Same questions, but this time for Goodell. Since he has already brought it to court, can he avoid taking the stand? Will he be forced to answer the questions:

    1. Who alerted the league about the possibility of the balls being underinflated originally?

    2. Why weren’t the Patriots informed about those concerns prior to the game, as has been the league policy in the past?

    3. Who leaked the information that the balls were 2 psi under 12.5?

    4. Why wasn’t that leak corrected by the league EVER, until the Wells report came out?

    5. Why were the Pats ORDERED NOT to discuss the actual ball pressure readings once they were given the true measurements (I believe that happened in March, a month and a half later)?

    6. Why is the league initiating their own case to after they were the ones to
    a. decide something happened
    b. determined there was wrongdoing
    c. conducted the appeal that concluded b was correct?

    Are the thresholds for perjury the same in civil cases?

  18. Even though Goodell has no proof Brady or the Patriots did anything, his own ruling admits he does have proof that the Panthers, Jets, and Packers all were caught tampering with footballs — but he claims it was totally different and didn’t matter or something. See page 15 and of course the footnotes. It really is like the trial in Alice in Wonderland.

  19. Brady’s lawyers should, probably will, pull back the curtain on the Wizard-of-Oz wannabe aka Roger Goodell.

    A Federal judge is a lot less likely to be impressed with the over-the-top PR efforts implemented by the Commissioner’s office than most NFL fans.

  20. Brady should have got a minimum of six games for blatantly obstructing an NFL investigation. His own actions prove without a doubt that he was deflating footballs and knew he was cheating. Lance Brady. Tom Armstrong.

  21. The original penalty should have been 8 games. After the time and money lost, due to Tom Brady’s appeals and insistence of innocence, plus agent Don Yee’s scorched earth attacks; you have to look at this from the totality of events. That now includes the destruction of the phone.

    Goodell absolutely should have increased the punishment. He would have been well within reason to do so.

  22. “I am not a crook!”
    – Richard “Tricky Dick” Nixon, before resigning the Presidency for being a crook.

  23. The only differe between destroying the phone and withholding the texts is in public opinion. It doesn’t really change the NFL’s case since they don’t have supeona power.

  24. It was not really new info to League: see Brady statement. All this is just Goodell chest thumping.

  25. Do you ever get the feeling that Florio wants to be commissioner?

    Or is it just lawyer double speak?

    Anyway, can’t wait for football on the field to start and all this other stuff can just go away.

    People are treating this like Brady stole national secrets and sold them to the Russians.

  26. Brady should have been suspended one year.
    Belicheat should have been banned for life.

    The Wells report states Belicheat first spoke to Brady about Deflategate on Thursday after the AFCCG, more than 3 days after the story exploded into national media. Who believes this longtime duo were not in close contact about this topic that at the time threatened Brady’s availability forth the Super Bowl?

    Belicheat was on the phone Brady destroyed.

  27. Question to Patriot fans: what does the NFL have to gain by “railroading” one of its biggest stars? If he did nothing wrong, why would they go out of their way to take one of the faces of the league, away from the league?

    Bob Kraft was Goodell’s biggest supporter, Tom Brady, one of the NFL’s biggest, most marketable stars. I fail to see the end game in them making all of this up, as Pats fans contend.

  28. Or, perhaps, the CBA prevents an extension of a suspension for any reason related to a single incident. Which is all the more reason for Brady to destroy his phone and not disclose it for X months.

  29. 2 weeks leading up to Super Bowl and the main headline is Tom Brady and Deflategate. Fast forward 6 months to the opening week of training camp and the main headline is Tom Brady and Deflategate. Can we PLEASE just get back to talking about things that matter like players trying to make teams, injuries, the fact the start of the season is just over a month away, etc.?

  30. Patriots haters celebrate victories in July, Patriots fans celebrate victories in January and sometimes February. Enjoy your celebration. yes I am dissapointed in Brady but it is a game played by men who have done a lot worse. Looking forward to some football. Can’t wait to see how the Pats adjust.

  31. Question to Patriot fans: what does the NFL have to gain by “railroading” one of its biggest stars? If he did nothing wrong, why would they go out of their way to take one of the faces of the league, away from the league?

    Seriously? Still asking this question?

    Ok, what does the league have to gain by making this all public? Nothing. At all.

    So, you answer me this – why didn’t they handle this behind closed doors right from the start. They could have called the Pats and let them know there was an issue with the PSI before the game. Instead they wait for the game and let this all go down. Why would they do that? Why risk the fallout? They didn’t see this coming? One of two explanations:
    1. The league totally screwed it up
    2. Someone wanted to make the Pats look bad

  32. The terms of the Appeal were that Goodell would REDUCE the suspension/penalties if Brady produced new info.

    There was nothing about increasing the penalties.

    This likely because the League ALREADY knew Brady was lying/concealing and had cheated, and the original 4 game suspension, the fines and loss of draft picks was based on that understanding.

  33. Brady told Wells/Lord Goodell he wasn’t handing over the phone.
    NOW it’s a big deal that it’s destroyed?
    Take them to court and win, just like Starcap Vikings & Bounty Saints cases.
    Goodell always gets overturned.

    Brady won’t miss a down.

  34. So let me get this straight. The NFL offers Brady the opportunity to screen his messages and emails, but Brady not only refuses, he trashes the phone. He says that he does this with all his old phones, but the phone he used prior to the one he trashed was available to review. But it is somehow on the NFL to go back and recreate the phone records by tracking down every person on a spreadsheet provided by the Brady camp? Why didn’t Brady’s camp do that? Right. Because this is a sham request by the Brady camp created to blunt the effects of the phone destruction. The NFL doesn’t need to look into it further. Brady needed to come up with something new. He came up with a sham explanation and a sham “discovery” method. Stop Florio. Stop. Brady did this to himself.

  35. The League has no right to demand to see the content of a privately owned mobile device without authorisation from court of law. This would be the same in almost all places of work – barring those where contracts state otherwise.

    Had this been a team issued phone, then the League would only be able to demand information from the team, not Brady. Even then, as a privately run business, I’m certain the team could decline.

    I am still awaiting an explanation as to why the League is doing nothing to investigate the statement made by Brad Johnson and other former players where they gave gone on record stating they paid ballboys money for ball preperation/tampering. Even Jerry Rice stated that he used Stickum on his gloves – though later retracted that statement (poorly). These are players that helped their teams win the Superbowl!

    This all seems to be a case of the commissioner giving as much publicity to punishments to the current higher paid players, in an attempt to appear strong.

    Just get the officiating in order. I have yet to hear of any punishment given to League personnel in failing to have policies and procedures in place to prevent this issue from happening.

    I am not a Patriots fan, but I do hope that if/when the League wants Brady to do some PR work for them in the future, that he politely – but publicly – declines stating a previous engagement of clearing his lawn.

  36. Mike Florio, take a bow.

    Tom Brady disposed of his phone like plenty of Americans do everyday when their old phones wear down and a new one is purchased. He was never under any obligation to turn over the phone and he never intended to relinquish his personal property which is irrelevant to the NFL breaking endless bylaws and collectively bargained agreements. The NFL already has all the texts.

  37. When will idiot America wake up? You hate Brady and you hate Goodell, the difference here is only one person is in the wrong. There remains nothing on Brady. Yesterday was a PR stunt. However, you have plenty to attack Roger with. If football fans coast to coast wake up and realize that if all the hate is finally reconsecrated back to Goodell and his 32 masters we may finally rid of him once and for all. We have to make business bad for the 32 owners, wherein they stand to lose money and power. That is the only way to force regime change at the top.

  38. I seem to remember one time when Goodell did up the punishment and got slammed for it. That other incident WAS actually important.

    I would say that he is learning from his mistakes.

  39. “Question to Patriot fans: what does the NFL have to gain by “railroading” one of its biggest stars? If he did nothing wrong, why would they go out of their way to take one of the faces of the league, away from the league?”

    The league office if run by former NY Jets employees who loathe the Pats. Anyone who thinks Goodell is Kraft’s “buddy” is insane. If he really was there would have been no deflategate in the first place.

    Goodell, Kensil, Grigson, all fomer NY Jets employees. The hate the Pats and will do anything to undermine them.

  40. I am pretty sure the NFL does not want the optics that will naturally occur when the public sees Brady’s suspension side by side with Hardy’s. PR is Goodell’s forte. Between Brady shooting himself in the feet and Goodell running an office of clowns I am rapidly losing interest in football this season. This is going to be Goodell’s legacy: Short term boost in profits for the 32 and a long term diminishing of the brand and product of the NFL.

  41. there are no laws that barring conditions of employment being that you must hand over your cell phone

    if tom doesn’t want to do that, he’s free to find another employer

  42. Destroying evidence? Isn’t that what the NFL did in the aftermath of SpyGate? Maybe Brady just followed the example from several years ago.

  43. It’s time to go to war!


    “I also disagree with yesterdays narrative surrounding my cellphone. I replaced my broken Samsung phone with a new iPhone 6 AFTER my attorneys made it clear to the NFL that my actual phone device would not be subjected to investigation under ANY circumstances. As a member of a union, I was under no obligation to set a new precedent going forward, nor was I made aware at any time during Mr. Wells investigation, that failing to subject my cell phone to investigation would result in ANY discipline.”


    It’s not hiding evidence if it was never going to be handed over.

    It’s time to go to war!

  44. atwatercrushesokoye says:
    Jul 29, 2015 9:30 AM
    Question to Patriot fans: what does the NFL have to gain by “railroading” one of its biggest stars? If he did nothing wrong, why would they go out of their way to take one of the faces of the league, away from the league?

    Bob Kraft was Goodell’s biggest supporter, Tom Brady, one of the NFL’s biggest, most marketable stars. I fail to see the end game in them making all of this up, as Pats fans contend.


    Will an answer from a Giants guy do?

    Regardless of how and why it all started this entire dog and pony show is looking more and more like a power struggle. This has morphed into a management vs labor issue as well as a League Office vs individual team statement. It is apparent that the league office interprets the CBA to mean they are all powerful as regards investigation and discipline, the NFLPA obviously holds a slightly differing view. When you want to make a lasting statement you go after the biggest guy in the room. Let’s also not forget Brady was the NFLPA’s lead plaintiff in the antitrust suit. If the League Office can take down Brady and make Bob Kraft knuckle under what other player or owner would even try them on? When it comes to labor law and civil suits precedent is huge.

    This might have started out as something relatively inconsequential then progressed to brinkmanship but it has now moved on to this. A high stakes game about power and boundaries. And with the latest statement from the Patriots in support of Brady it appears everyone might be willing to go all in.

  45. Why didn’t Goodell increase Brady’s suspension?

    Folks this one is obvious! Because there was no way, and I mean no way, that Goodell was going to ruin the matchup in week 6 against the Colts. Brady MUST come back on week 6 and get revenge against the Colts, who implicated Brady and Patriots in the first place! In fact I believe the notion of suspending Brady by Goodell was in the works before the schedule was made, and since they were gonna suspend Brady for four games (throwing in the bye week), they scheduled the Pats to play the Colts in week 6.

    In the NFL and everywhere else, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY! (and the entertainment!)

  46. nortonfest says:
    Jul 29, 2015 10:31 AM
    Destroying evidence? Isn’t that what the NFL did in the aftermath of SpyGate?

    By destroy evidence you mean played on loop in front of the media, right?

    Don’t forget Denver was caught actually filming practices and was fined less than the Pats got for legally video taping from an illegal spot for half of one quarter of a game.

  47. Goodell: You want answers?

    Pat Fans: I think I’m entitled to.

    Goodell: *You want answers?*

    Pat Fans: *I want the truth!*

    Goodell: *You can’t handle the truth!*

  48. Why didn’t Goodell increase Brady’s suspension?


    Good question… let’s do that.

    I vote for 16 games.

  49. One for the thumb says:
    Jul 29, 2015 10:52 AM

    “Don’t forget Denver was caught actually filming practices and was fined less than the Pats got for legally video taping from an illegal spot for half of one quarter of a game.”
    And Denver promptly fired their coach (McDaniels) and kicked him out of the facilities that very night. Did the Pats discipline any member of their staff after being caught filming illegally? Hell no.

    BTW, the Denver head coach fired for cheating now works for the Pats and is in line to be their next head coach.

  50. Think about it, week 5 Patriots vs Cowboys, Greg Hardy is on the field playing, Tom Brady on the bench suspended,….kind of makes one scratch his head,…

  51. I called it at the start….Brady shouldve been issued a lifetime suspension while forcing Kraft to sell the franchise. The honorable thing would be to officially vacate all the recent Super Bowl fraudulent wins. Still, regardless of how hard they tried, they couldn’t cheat their way past the Giants. Twice.

  52. 4 rings for Tom 6 rings for Bill.
    Cry me a river all you haters.
    I am a life long Pats fan and if he cheated suspend him for a full season.
    As a true Pats fan the ride can not last forever Just ask th 49er fans, Denver fans, Steeler fans and Cowboy fans.
    Alot of ring but it all ends sooner or later.
    Am I giving up on the Pats? He’ll no.
    I want to watch the master BB do his job.

  53. Florio, you might want to inform your readers that in Favre’s case, he refused to turn over his phone; a case where his phone was central to sexting (on the phone) a Jets’ female employee. The fine for not cooperating was $50K and Goodell did not release a pr campaign trying to destroy Favre’s reputation.

    How could Brady’s fine possibly be more than $50K?

  54. I’m not Pats fan but if Tom Brady said yes I knew the balls were under pressure people would have gotten over it eventually.

    Instead he continues to lie about it and the entire pats organization are also spewing out the lies. If they honestly thought he was innocent then why wouldn’t they have fought the punishment they received. Losing a #1 draft pick is a big deal

    They keep digging themselves into a bigger hole each day. Oh and who the hell destroys their old cell phone?

  55. Yes you would think an increase would have been in order had that option been available. Although I don’t think it was.

    Furthermore any offer of compromise, which most likely happened as many reports have noted. And which Brady later lied about. Shows a continued favoritism that is always offered to this persistently cheating organization.

  56. I still believe Brady did not instruct the ball boys to deflate the footballs, they did it on their own. I do believe though, he knew the balls were deflated during the game and did not say anything since he likes it that way. If he would have come clean with this at the first press conference, instead of making himself look foolish, it would have never have gotten this far. Now I agree with what someone else said. It’s the NFL vs NFLPA, Brady is an after thought. It’s like that movie Rollerball, no one star is bigger than the game itself. The thing that stinks the most is we have to hear about this for at least another 4 months and probably more.

  57. Don’t be drawn in by the Patriots public relations strategy either.

    According to ESPN’s Bill Polian said this morning, Goodell never even asked for the phone. They had previously told Brady essentially “ok fine, you don’t want to give up your phone. So just produce any texts that may pertain to this issue and whatever you submit, we’ll take your word that it’s complete.” So when Brady shows up empty handed, Goodell asks why and Brady says “I don’t have my phone anymore” it just looks bad and left Goodell with no other option.

    Kraft references past cases where penalties are reduced after meeting with Goodell. In nearly all of those cases, the player comes in with some sort of mea culpa. Not Brady, he’s essentially saying “I’ve got nothing for you but a spreadsheet. I won’t let you have my phone and I won’t give you what you asked for to assist the investigation.” As Stephen A. said, Goodell was left with no choice at that point but to uphold the suspension.

    As for your assertion, that the new evidence should have increased the penalty, you are right in theory only. In practice, there would’ve been even more outrage coming from New England. Goodell’s house is already under police watch. When Brady offered up this new information about his phone, as Stephen A said, the league essentially said we’re done here, and rightfully so.

  58. Kraft references past cases where penalties are reduced after meeting with Goodell. In nearly all of those cases, the player comes in with some sort of mea culpa.

    There’s really no precedent for this case. In no other case has there been doubt about whether a rules violation even happened. Well, maybe the Saints case. And Vilma and the Saints ended up winning that case.

    The NFL has become pretty much uninterested in fact-finding. Their specialty is creating stories and feeding them to the media. And that’s all they’ve been doing for the past six months.

  59. Breaking news….the NFL has proven the laws of gravity are no longer valid.This is big news as it is the second scientific law that they have shot down this year.Wow,these guys will be partnering with Hawking soon!

  60. Players shouldn’t be suspended for anything to do with what they did with their phone. It’s irrelevant. Fined? OK, but that’s it.

    All I, and everyone with a brain knows for sure here is that the balls weren’t deflated, and there’s no proof that Tom directed them to be. That’s what should be relevant, but the NFL PR machine’s agenda decided to leak false info and absolutely direct a smear campaign against the Patriots team here–the guy taking the heat happens to be Brady.

    The suspension is an unprecedented, indefensible farce perpetrated by an inept group that just wants to take the Patriots down a peg or two for chronically winning, combined with the perceived arrogance and rogue nature they have cultivated while doing it over the years.

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