Not much had been said in recent days about Chris Mortensen’s role in the hatching of #DeflateGate because nobody had really said much about it. Mort said some more stuff about it on Thursday, and he probably now wishes that he hadn’t.
Appearing on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, Mortensen addressed various aspects of his report that 11 of 12 Patriots footballs measured at two pounds below the 12.5 PSI minimum at halftime of the AFC Championship Game.
Among other things, Mortensen claimed that Patriots owner Robert Kraft and team president Jonathan Kraft separately called to apologize to him for “the way this thing has gone down.” WEEI in Boston reports that the Patriots say the Krafts did not apologize to Mortensen.
Beyond the disputed notion that the Krafts apologized, Mortensen made other claims during the interview regarding the report. They’re listed below.
First, Mortensen downplayed the perception that the NFL peddled false information by explaining that the sources didn’t reach out to him, but that he reached out to the sources.
“The whole narrative that somebody from the league deliberately leaked false information to me is so much baloney,” Mortensen said. “It’s actually insulting, because I made the inquiry.”
In other words, Mortensen is saying the league is absolved of deliberately leaking false information because the sources didn’t affirmatively provide the information to Mortensen, but that the league instead provided the information upon request. However, the league then never corrected the false information, even after the same false information was reported both by Mortensen and by Peter King.
So Mort can choose to be insulted, but the “baloney” narrative seems accurate.
Second, Mortensen continues to downplay the clearly false report that 11 of 12 footballs were two pounds under the minimum by claiming that he quickly amended the report, claiming that the footballs were “significantly” underinflated. But what is “significantly” underinflated, given the NFL’s admitted ignorance of the operation of the Ideal Gas Law and the fact that, on one of the two pressure gauges, the measurements fell within what the Ideal Gas Law would predict? Moreover, despite his claim that ESPN quickly clarified the report, the original ESPN.com story to this very moment states that 11 of the 12 footballs were two pounds under the minimum.
Third, Mortensen fails to acknowledge that three of the four Colts footballs also were measured below the 12.5 minimum on one of the two pressure gauges, even though those footballs started the game at 13 PSI.
Fourth, Mortensen claims he didn’t suggest that the balls were tampered with. But the magnitude of the report — 11 of 12 footballs a full two pounds under the 12.5 PSI minimum — did the suggesting for him. Indeed, the most common reaction to Mortensen’s report was “wow, somebody tampered with the footballs,” and the only remaining questions related to who ordered it and/or who knew about it.
Fifth, Mortensen tries to shift the focus away from himself by claiming that he “never implicated” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, and that the first person who did was coach Bill Belichick. Technically, Mortensen is right; his report didn’t specifically implicate Brady. But it was a damning report to the Patriots, and it turned a curiosity into a hashtag, making the decision to hire “independent” investigator Ted Wells a no-brainer and putting Belichick, Brady, and the rest of the organization squarely on the defensive until the team finally was told the truth in late March.
The truth remains that Mortensen’s sources lied to him. Instead of blaming the sources for lying to him, Mortensen is trying to create the impression that they didn’t lie to him.
So now Mortensen’s sources owe him. Big time. Here’s hoping that the stuff they give him this season and beyond is a lot more accurate.