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Report: Former Jets Director of Operations Behind NFL’s False Deflategate Leak

On Friday, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, who falsely reported that 11 of the 12 footballs used by the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game measured two pounds under league standards, evaded an appearance on WEEI’s “Dennis & Callahan” show to discuss his mistake.

John Dennis tweeted:

Mortensen replied, through ProFootballTalk, “You guys made a mistake by drumming up business for the show and how I would address my reporting for the first time. I will not allow WEEI, [Patriots owner Robert] Kraft or anybody to make me the centerpiece of a story that has been misreported far beyond anything I did in the first 48 hours. Maybe when the lawsuit is settled, in Brady’s favor, I hope, we can revisit. Don’t call.”

Mortensen’s initial claim was debunked in the Wells Report, which stated that only one of the footballs sunk two pounds under the minimum. The bulk of the footballs measured less than a pound under the minimum. After Mortensen refused to show up for the interview, WEEI stated that Mike Kensil, director of football operations for the NFL, had given the false data to Mortensen:

CSN New England’s Tom E. Curran reported in January that Kensil, who worked for the New York Jets for nearly twenty years and whose father served as the team’s president, pushed the NFL to target the Patriots. During the AFC Championship Game, Kensil taunted a Patriots equipment manager: “We weighed the balls. You are in big f—— trouble.”

Adam Schefter floated the possibility that the NFL deliberately misled Mortensen in order to embarrass the Patriots. “Any reporter in the country, if they have high-level people calling them, giving them this information, almost anyone’s gonna run with it,” Schefter explained. “If that is indeed the case that one, two, three high-level individuals intentionally misled him to try to smear the Patriots, I saw more shame on those people than Mort.”

Dennis addressed Mortensen on Friday to explain that he was not targeting him:

The phony story planted in the press by a league source in January reverberates still. “The league’s handling of this entire process has been extremely frustrating and disconcerting,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft said in response to Roger Goodell upholding Brady’s four game suspension earlier this week. “I will never understand why an initial erroneous report regarding the PSI level of footballs was leaked by a source from the NFL a few days after the AFC Championship Game, and was never corrected by those who had the correct information.For four months, that report cast aspersions and shaped public opinion.”

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