Tom Brady finally will break his silence today
The day after Ted Wells issued his 243-page report in early May, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady promised to provide a response “hopefully soon.”
“Soon” ended up being nearly two months later, within the confines of the hearing of the appeal of his four-game suspension, which starts Tuesday.
While not the smartest move from a P.R. perspective, Brady’s silence shows that he is far more concerned about preserving his ability to play as many games as possible, and that he’s willing to heed the strong advice of lawyer Jeffrey Kessler, who undoubtedly told Brady with the kind of blunt candor he’d usually get only from his coach or his spouse to STFU about #DeflateGate until the time comes to talk before the person who’ll be resolving the question of whether and for how long he’ll be suspended.
The only two times Brady spoke at length publicly about the situation (at a less-than-convincing press conference and a less-than-convincing pre-Super Bowl interview with Bob Costas), Brady was under the false impression that 11 of the 12 Patriots footballs used in the AFC title game against the Colts measured two full pounds-per-square-inch under the minimum -- a leak from the league to ESPN that was as jarring as it ultimately was untrue. The false information put Brady and the Patriots on their heels, leading them to believe that someone had done something to the footballs that had resulted in a significant drop in their air pressure. So maybe the clumsy “are you a cheater?/I don’t believe so” remarks from Brady were influenced to some degree by the uncertainty that flowed from the adroitly sinister decision by someone to provide blatantly incorrect information to ESPN, knowing that this would rattle anyone who chose to speak from New England’s perspective about the situation without knowing the truth about the air pressure inside the footballs.
Now, the truth is known. And the truth paints a far different picture, especially in light of the operation of the Ideal Gas Law and the NFL’s use of two gauges that produced significantly different air pressure readings. The truth, as many have now concluded, is that there’s not enough evidence to conclude that tampering happened prior to the AFC title game.
For the first time, Brady will discuss the situation with knowledge of the truth. If he’s smart (or if he’s finally willing to heed good advice from others on this point), he’ll also show up with hard copies of all text messages on his phone and emails that relate in any way to this situation, accepting Commissioner Roger Goodell’s repeated invitation to share new information and, in turn, finally cooperating in full with the investigation. That gesture alone could cut the suspension in half.
And while the public likely won’t be privy to any of the new evidence in the short term, the affirmation of any portion of the suspension by Goodell likely will lead to litigation challenging the discipline, along with the filing in court of the transcript of the appeal hearing and all exhibits introduced.
Unless Goodell wipes the slate clean and reinstates Brady effective Week One, we’ll all eventually get a look at what Brady and others had to say at the appeal hearing. Which will give everyone a chance to see whether Brady will be more persuasive regarding his lack of knowledge or role in the case than he was when he thought 11 of the 12 footballs were underinflated by two pounds each.