Maybe Roger Goodell should have read through the transcripts of Tom Brady’s suspension appeal hearing a little closer before submitting his decision to uphold the New England Patriots quarterback’s four-game ban.
Goodell stated in his appeal decision last week: “In response to the question, ‘Why were you talking to Mr. (John) Jastremski in those two weeks?,’ Mr. Brady responsed, in sum: ‘I think most of the conversations centered around breaking in the balls.’ ”
Goodell also wrote: “The sharp contrast between the almost complete absence of communications through the AFC Championship Game and the extraordinary volume of communications during the three days following the AFC Championship Game undermines the suggestion that the communications addressed only preparation of footballs for the Super Bowl rather than the tampering allegations and their anticipated responses to inquiries about the tampering.”
Goodell is implying that Brady lied in the June 23 hearing about why he and Jastremski communicated so frequently after the AFC Championship Game. However, Brady readily admitted multiple times in his appeal to Goodell that he and Jastremski could have been discussing the Deflategate allegations against the Patriots and not only football preparation for the Super Bowl.
Check out portions of the transcript when Brady was questioned by NFL Players Association lawyer Jeffrey Kessler during the appeal to Goodell:
“Q. Okay. Now, what did you mean or why were you sending a text to Mr. Jastremski saying, “You are good, Jonny boy?” And then he writes back to you, “Still nervous. So far, so good, though. I will be all right.” What do you understand that to be referring to, if you could explain that to the Commissioner?
Brady: I wrote, “You good, Jonny boy,” like, you doing okay? Because he was obviously nervous the fact that these allegations were coming out that they would fall back on him. And I was just, I guess, expressing my concern for him.
Q. Now, you then wrote to him, “You didn’t do anything wrong, bud.” Why did you say that? Was that based on your conversation with him?
Brady: Yeah, I said, “You didn’t do anything wrong, bud.” That’s how I, you know.
Q. And then he writes back, “I know. I will be all good.”
Q. Did that set of texts refer in any way to your knowing that he had done anything to deflate footballs or anything like that at all?
Also consider these exchanges between Brady and Loren Reisner, a partner of Deflategate investigator Ted Wells:
“Q. And do you recall what you and John Jastremski discussed during that 11-minutes-and-one-second telephone call?
Brady: I don’t remember exactly what we discussed. But like I said, there was two things that were happening. One was the allegations which we were facing and the second was getting ready for the Super Bowl, which both of those have never happened before. So me talking to him about those things that were unprecedented, you know, he was the person that I would be communicating with.”
“Q. And directing your attention to the bottom of page 109, there’s a block referring to a text message at 7:27 in the morning on January 21st from you to John Jastremski. It says, “Hey, bud, give me a call when you get a sec.” And the report states underneath that, “For the third straight morning, Jastremski and Brady spoke by phone, this time for 13 minutes and 47 seconds starting at 7:38 a.m. They spoke again for seven minutes and five seconds at 11:45:16 a.m.”
Do you see that?
Q. Do you have any reason to doubt the timing of the phone calls referenced in the report?
Q. Do you recall the substance of either of those two telephone calls referenced in the report?
Brady: I don’t remember exactly what we talked about, but like I said, there were two things happening simultaneously and I really wanted John focused other than what he needed to get accomplished with the footballs, so I was trying to make sure that he was good and that, you know, he felt responsible for, you know, the attacks. And I was trying to make sure that he was composed so that he could do his job over the course of the next two weeks.”
“Q. During the telephone calls that you had with John Jastremski on January 19th and 20th and 21st that I asked you about, at that time, you knew that questions had been raised about the inflation levels of the footballs used during the AFC Championship Game, correct?
Q. And during these telephone calls with Mr. Jastremski, did you discuss with him the fact that questions had been raised about the inflation levels of the footballs?
Brady: It’s possible, yes.
Q. And did you discuss with him any concerns that he might have about questions being raised on that topic?
Brady: It’s possible, yes.
Q. What do you recall about that, if anything?
Brady: Well, that they would be directed at him and that he was the person that prepared the footballs and like I said, the initial report was that none of the Colts’ balls were deflated, but the Patriots, all the Patriots’ balls were. So I think trying to figure out what happened was certainly my concern and trying to figure out, you know, what could be — possibly could have happened to those balls. …
Q. And during the text exchanges referenced there on January 19th, this was around the time that you were having telephone calls with John Jastremski as well, correct?
Q. And you say that it is possible that you and John Jastremski were discussing the concerns that had been raised about ball deflation levels, right?
Check out screen shots of Goodell’s response and Brady’s appeal below.
Thumbnail photo via Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports