“Given the NFL’s history of inconsistency and arbitrary decisions in disciplinary matters, it is only fair that a neutral arbitrator hear this appeal,” the NFLPA said in a statement. “If Ted Wells and the NFL believe, as their public comments stated, that the evidence in their report is ‘direct’ and ‘inculpatory,’ then they should be confident enough to present their case before someone who is truly independent.”
The New England Patriots are standing by their MVP quarterback in the midst of the Deflategate scandal, and issued a lengthy statement on Thursday refuting the report commissioned by the NFL.
“The conclusions of the Wells Report are, at best, incomplete, incorrect and lack context,” read the statement. “The Report dismisses the scientific explanation for the natural loss of PSI of the Patriots footballs by inexplicably rejecting the referee’s recollection of what gauge he used in his pregame inspection.”
The rebuttal also claims that many of the text messages between team employees were taken out of context: “Texts acknowledged to be attempts at humor and exaggeration are nevertheless interpreted as a plot to improperly deflate footballs.”
Quarterback Tom Brady was slapped with a four-game suspension on Monday following the investigation by the NFL over his alleged involvement in the league violation. The Patriots organization was also fined $1 million and stripped of its first-round draft pick in 2016 and its fourth-round pick in 2017.
However, the team is disputing all findings against the four-time Super Bowl champion. “There is no evidence that Tom Brady preferred footballs that were lower than 12.5 PSI and no evidence anyone even thought that he did,” the statement continued.
It also defends the decision not to turn over Brady’s cellphone, as well as locker room attendant Jim McNally’s removal of footballs from the officials’ room.
Much has been made about McNally referring to himself as “the deflator,” but the team claims that “deflate” was a term they used to refer to losing weight, as equipment assistant John Jastremski wanted to drop 200 pounds.
The current controversy surrounding Brady began after the 2014 AFC Championship game in which the Patriots defeated the Indianapolis Colts 45-7. Reports indicated that the NFL was investigating the Patriots for using balls that were not fully inflated to supposedly make them easier to catch. Investigator Tom Wells said in his NFL-commissioned report last week that “it is more probable than not” that Brady knew the balls his team was using were under-inflated.
Read the full statement from the Patriots here.