New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady defended his innocence Wednesday after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld his four-game suspension for his alleged role in using underinflated footballs during the AFC Championship Game last season. Brady posted a statement to Facebook countering NFL allegations that the quarterback had his cell phone destroyed even though he knew investigators would want access to information on it.
Brady has been accused of having some role in Patriots' personnel purposefully removing air pressure in footballs to make them easier to handle in the January 2015 game against the Indianapolis Colts, which the Pats handily won, to go on to the Super Bowl. But he said he never emailed or texted anyone about football inflation levels prior to the issue being raised after the game. Brady claimed he was told by lawyers his physical cell phone would not be needed during the investigation under any circumstance.
— Marc Fortier (@MarcNECN) July 29, 2015
"To suggest that I destroyed a phone to avoid giving the NFL information it requested is completely wrong," Brady wrote in his statement.
Brady said he made numerous efforts to retrieve electronic data for the NFL. He sent more than 10,000 text messages during a four-month period that could not be retrieved after the phone was destroyed, according to the NFL.
Brady said in his statement that he had made a settlement offer to the league and recieved no counter offer. It is widely believed Brady and the NFL Players Association will take the issue to court. Read below for Brady's statement:
"I am very disappointed by the NFL’s decision to uphold the four-game suspension against me. I did nothing wrong, and no one in the Patriots organization did either.
Despite submitting to hours of testimony over the past six months, it is disappointing that the Commissioner upheld my suspension based upon a standard that it was “probable” that I was “generally aware” of misconduct. The fact is that neither I, nor any equipment person, did anything of which we have been accused. He dismissed my hours of testimony, and it is disappointing that he found it unreliable.
I also disagree with yesterday's narrative surrounding my cell phone. 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.
Most importantly, I have never written, texted, emailed to anybody at anytime, anything related to football air pressure before this issue was raised at the AFC Championship game in January. To suggest that I destroyed a phone to avoid giving the NFL information it requested is completely wrong.
To try and reconcile the record and fully cooperate with the investigation after I was disciplined in May, we turned over detailed pages of cell phone records and all of the emails that Mr. Wells requested. We even contacted the phone company to see if there was any possible way we could retrieve any/all of the actual text messages from my old phone. In short, we exhausted every possibility to give the NFL everything we could and offered to go through the identity for every text and phone call during the relevant time. Regardless, the NFL knows that Mr. Wells already had ALL relevant communications with Patriots personnel that either Mr. Wells saw or that I was questioned about in my appeal hearing. There is no “smoking gun” and this controversy is manufactured to distract from the fact they have zero evidence of wrongdoing.
I authorized the NFLPA to make a settlement offer to the NFL so that we could avoid going to court and put this inconsequential issue behind us as we move forward into this season. The discipline was upheld without any counter offer. I respect the Commissioner's authority, but he also has to respect the CBA and my rights as a private citizen. I will not allow my unfair discipline to become a precedent for other NFL players without a fight.
Lastly, I am overwhelmed and humbled by the support of family, friends and our fans who have supported me since the false accusations were made after the AFC Championship game. I look forward to the opportunity to resume playing with my teammates and winning more games for the New England Patriots."