Know what would be interesting reading? The notes from the first interviews of the Deflategate investigation.
That’s when the NFL’s VP of Operations Mike Kensil was reportedly telling the Patriots equipment man Dave Schoenfeld the team was in “big f****** trouble,” when the footballs were being measured by various gauges of inconsistent calibration, when and another league operations VP, Dave Gardi, was firing off an email to Patriots owner Robert Kraft littered with inaccuracies and when NFL lead counsel Jeff Pash – who later would conduct the investigation of the Patriots alongside Ted Wells – was rolling up his sleeves.
But the NFL refused to share those notes with the NFLPA. Notes which would certainly show whether or not the NFL was starting from a presumption of guilt and rushing to judgment.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported this Thursday:
“NFL outside counsel Gregg Levy, who served as the Commissioner’s legal adviser at the Brady appeal hearing, told PFT by phone that notes generated by NFL security officials before the hiring of Ted Wells were given to the NFLPA. Levy confirmed that notes of interviews conducted by Wells and his team were not made available to the NFLPA.
“The substance of the interviews was reflected in the Wells report,” Levy told Florio.
The problem, as the NFLPA would explain it, is that the notes become necessary to ensuring the accuracy of the report. Information from the notes possibly were omitted from the report. Information not in the notes possibly were present in the report. Information in the notes possibly contradict statements in the report.
That portion is part of a larger Florio post on the NFLPA being “stunned” at the role of attorney Lorin Reisner.
Follow this: Reisner is, along with Ted Wells, an attorney at Paul Weiss, the firm that investigated Deflategate. After the Wells Report was released, Reisner sat with Wells on a conference call in which Wells defended his report. Reisner also spoke on the call.
Then, during Brady’s June appeal, Reisner represented the NFL and conducted interviews at the appeal. It was Reisner and his firm’s work which was at the center of what was purportedly an independent hearing on the merits of Brady’s suspension. Florio writes that, here was Reisner conducting “the vast majority of witness examinations (including Brady’s), and otherwise defend(ing) Brady’s discipline even though his personal work on the Wells Report was being reviewed, and even though his law partner Wells testified at the hearing.”
Meanwhile, Daniel Flynn at Breitbart highlighted another instance of the NFL hiding behind attorney-client privilege related to Paul Weiss.
The NFLPA argues that the “Wells Report was not the product of an independent investigation” as Roger Goodell wrote in his appeal ruling.
Goodell, answered in a footnote: “The NFLPA takes the position that because the NFL asserted attorney-client privilege for certain of its communication with Paul, Weiss and because a Paul, Weiss attorney asked questions of witnesses at the appeal hearing, the investigation was not independent. For the reasons stated in the text, among others, I disagree. But this disagreement does not matter: If the entire investigation had been conducted by in-house NFL employees instead of an outside law firm, I would still view it as a thorough and reliable basis for my findings and conclusions and a thorough and detailed means of providing Mr. Brady and the NFLPA notice of the conduct detrimental for which the suspension was imposed.”
Flynn wrote: Does not matter? Then why does the commissioner keep the matter a secret. Beyond betraying a lack of transparency, the footnote reveals a lack of fair-mindedness. Goodell clearly states that he would regard an investigation by the NFL as one no different in its independence from that of a litigator employed, directly at least, by a third party. So why appoint Ted Wells in the first place? To give the appearance of impartiality. And as the footnote shows, Roger Goodell appointed Ted Wells for the sake of appearance rather than impartiality.
For the first four months of the investigation, the “11 of 12” red herring was out there. Since Tuesday, it’s been a “destroyed cell phone” which Wells himself said he never wanted in the first place.
Meanwhile, in plain view, the NFL is trampling due process under its feet while using both hands to pre-emptively smear the defendants in advance of each new checkpoint.
The NFL thinks we’re an easy mark. For the most part, we have been.