The Patriots officially requested reinstatement for suspended employees Jim McNally and John Jastremski on Monday, the Patriots and the NFL have confirmed.
An NFL spokesman said that their reinstatement is “under review.” Their reinstatement must be approved by NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent.
Jastremski, an assistant equipment manager, and McNally, a game-day employee who served as the officials’ locker room attendant, have been suspended since May 6 for their role in allegedly deflating footballs before the AFC Championship game.
There remains confusion over who was responsible for suspending the employees. The NFL’s initial press release on May 11 stated that Patriots owner Robert Kraft advised NFL commissioner Roger Goodell that the two employees were suspended immediately without pay.
But the Patriots maintain that Jastremski and McNally did nothing wrong, and they suspended the two only at the NFL’s request, pointing to the fact that they need Vincent’s approval to reinstate them.
Tuesday morning on ESPN Radio, Goodell was asked if the league asked the Patriots to suspend the two employees.
“Absolutely not. No,” Goodell said. “That was a decision by the Patriots.”
Neither McNally nor Jastremski has spoken publicly since their roles were revealed in Ted Wells’s investigative report on May 6. They were cited in the report for their text messages to each other that talked about how much pressure Tom Brady put on them to get the footballs just right, among other things.
McNally also called himself “The Deflator,” which Wells viewed as damning evidence of a ball-deflation scheme.
The Patriots also were punished for not cooperating with the Wells investigation, which included not making McNally and Jastremski available for follow-up interviews.
The two spoke with NFL security three separate times in the days following the AFC Championship game, then had one interview with Wells.
But it wasn’t until several weeks after those interviews that Wells discovered the “Deflator” text, even though he had it in his possession. Wells asked for a follow-up interview, and the Patriots declined, contending that it was too onerous to make the employees available for a fifth interview and that Wells should’ve done his homework the first time.
The NFL Players Association also declined a request from Goodell to have McNally or Jastremski testify at Brady’s appeal hearing at the NFL offices June 23.
“I asked both parties if I should hear from them directly,” Goodell said on ESPN Radio, referencing representatives from the union and from the NFL owners. “The union side said it was not necessary, they didn’t feel it was a necessary step. And the Management Council side said, ‘We think we have sufficient information, but the fact that the union doesn’t want you to hear from them should be taken into account.’ ”
On Wednesday morning, former NFL quarterback Tim Hasselbeck, a Norfolk native and childhood friend of Jastremski’s, said it’s his belief that Jastremski has been receiving his salary during his suspension. However, the NFL’s press release stated that he was supposed to be suspended without pay.
The Patriots have not responded to a request seeking clarification on this point.
If and when the suspensions are lifted, the employees will have different job responsibilities. Jastremski is “prohibited from having any role in the preparation, supervision, or handling of game balls to be used in NFL games during the 2015 season,” according to the NFL’s release from May 11.