Tom Brady destroyed his cellphone.
The Patriots quarterback, whose four-game suspension was upheld by the NFL, testified at his appeal hearing on June 23 that it is standard practice for him, or his assistant, to destroy his old cellphones and SIM cards upon acquiring a new one. He began using a new phone “on or about March 6,” which is also the day he met with Ted Wells and investigators to be interviewed about Deflategate.
Commissioner Roger Goodell, in his 20-page explanation of his decision to uphold the suspension, called this decision “very troubling.”
“Mr. Brady made a deliberate effort to ensure that investigators would never have access to information that he had been asked to produce,” Goodell wrote.
Brady used the old cellphone for four months — beginning Nov. 6, 2014 — before getting a new one. He did not tell Wells and investigators about his decision to get rid of the old phone, and its contents, until June 18.
“During the four months that the cellphone was in use, Brady had exchanged nearly 10,000 text messages, none of which can now be retrieved from that device,” the league said in its release Tuesday. “Following the appeal hearing, Mr. Brady’s representatives provided a letter from his cellphone carrier confirming that the text messages sent from or received by the destroyed cellphone could no longer be recovered.”
The NFL Players’ Association hired a forensic expert, Brad Maryman, to review two of Brady’s cellphones — one used from spring 2014 to Nov. 5, 2014 and the other from March 6 to April 8 — and submit a report for the appeal hearing.
Goodell wrote that Maryman’s review “was extremely limited” and didn’t include all communication materials investigators requested.
Goodell also wrote that Maryman’s review of the first of those two phones went against Brady’s claim that it’s common practice for him to destroy old phones.
“Had Mr. Brady followed what he and his attorneys called his ‘ordinary practice,’ one would expect that the cellphone that he had used prior to November 6, 2014 would have been destroyed long before Mr. Maryman was hired,” Goodell wrote. “No explanation was provided for this anomaly.”
Follow Rachel G. Bowers on Twitter at @rachelgbowers.