Patriots update ‘The Wells Report in Context’
Just when you thought it was safe to pick up the sports section again . . . Deflategate is back in the news.
The Patriots’ website released an update to their “The Wells Report in Context” on Friday — this time it’s a near 8,000-word entry titled “The Background and Myths of Deflategate — Separating Fact From Fiction’’ that defends the team against the NFL.
The new posts contains 15 “myths” written to discredit the league’s position and allegations in the Deflategate case, which erupted days after the 2014 AFC Championship game victory over the Colts, when it was alleged the Patriots deflated footballs.
The Patriots were assessed a $1 million fine and docked a first-round pick this season and a fourth-rounder in 2017 after the Wells Report found that quarterback Tom Brady was “at least generally aware” of a plan to deflate footballs for that game.
Brady was suspended for four games, had the ban vacated, and the league’s appeal of that ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is now in the hands of three-judge panel. There is no timetable for the judges’ decision.
Friday’s essay takes issue with, among other things, the way data was collected by the NFL, the accuracy of the league’s protocols of preparing and measuring footballs before the game, at halftime, and after the game; Brady’s interaction with team employees John Jastremski and Jim McNally, and the quarterback’s decision not to give his cellphone to investigators.
The Patriots insist “this situation would have been brought to a quick close if the League had even a general awareness of the scientific impact of temperature and weather conditions on the PSI of footballs at the time of the AFC Championship Game.’’
The use of the term “general awareness” is clearly a jab at league.
The “Conclusion” of the post chastises the league for a “lack of transparency” and the “dubious conclusions and methodology” of the Wells Report.
The Patriots continued to pull no punches regarding how the league handled the controversy, criticizing the NFL’s use of the Wells Report as a “piece of advocacy’’ to back up its “predetermined conclusions” to mete out punishment to the Patriots.
Finally, the team took issue with how the NFL refused to release its information, with a scathing conclusion that read:
“Prompt correction of misinformation leaked by the League would have allowed knowledgeable and objective people to assess the numbers and minimize the media frenzy and public furor. For reasons still unknown, the League and its lawyers refused to release the accurate information for months, doing so only in the context of a report which based its conclusions primarily on dubious interpretations of ambiguous texts. The Wells Report is written more as a piece of advocacy trying to support its predetermined conclusions than an as an independent and dispassionate review of all the facts.’’