Ted Wells didn’t hire Columbia physicists due to leaks
The 456-page Tom Brady appeal transcript has plenty of fodder for stories to post. And we realize that some of you don’t care. But some of you do.
So here’s our advice for those who don’t: Scroll to the next story.
OK, now that they’re gone, here’s another nugget, via the testimony of “independent” investigator Ted Wells.
Early in the life of #DeflateGate, the New York Times reported that Wells and company had contacted physicists at Columbia to provide assistance in understanding the impact of weather and temperature on football. Columbia was never mentioned again, prompting some (e.g., me) to wonder whether Columbia wasn’t able to conclude what Wells needed them to conclude to justify a finding of tampering with the footballs.
According to Wells, Columbia wasn’t hired because Columbia was too chatty about the assignment.
“Mr. Reisner sent an e-mail to the Physics Department at Columbia asking if they could help us, and I think he may have also talked to somebody,” Wells said. “And he told them this is confidential. To our shock, after he contacted Columbia’s Physics Department, there was an article, either the next day or the day after in the New York Times that [we] had reached to the Columbia Physics Department. And we were, to say the least, outraged that we had reached out in what we thought was a confidential contact and then it was published in the New York Times.”
The irony is obvious. The NFL had leaked damaging and incorrect information to ESPN about the investigation -- information that made an independent investigation inevitable and that put the Patriots on the defensive -- and no one with the league office or the firm investigating the situation seemed to care. The Patriots repeatedly asked the NFL to direct Wells to investigate the leaks, and the NFL consistently declined. The Commissioner said in May that Wells had the opportunity to explore the leaks, but Wells obviously chose not to do so.
So Wells was “outraged” when the leaks undermined his efforts, but he was nonchalant when the leaks undermined the Patriots’ interests.
Of course, that’s not the only time Wells was outraged. Stung by criticism of a 243-page report that deserved plenty of it, Wells insisted on a conference call during which he angrily defended his work. The NFL gave him what he wanted.
Which serves only to make the NFL’s failure to act in response to New England’s concerns more glaring.
Which serves only to further undermine public confidence in the game of professional football. Which cries out for the owners to demand significant changes to the way things work.
In the past three years, the Saints and Patriots have seen what can happen. If improvements aren’t made, the real question is which owner’s team is next?