Judge: ‘Turns Out Mr. Brady Did Better with Higher Inflated Balls’

The federal judge in the Deflategate case badgered an NFL lawyer for proof of a New England Patriots conspiracy to deflate footballs, leaving the league to concede in court on Wednesday that no such smoking gun exists.

“Is there a text in which Mr. Brady instructs someone to put a needle in a football?” NFL lawyer Daniel Nash responds to Judge Richard Berman. “No there is not such direct evidence.”

Tellingly, the league lawyer called arguments that Ted Wells didn’t act as an “independent” investigator a “red herring.” This follows a day after Roger Goodell said, “First and foremost, we went to an independent investigation that week following the AFC championship game,” which follows NFL lawyers insisting that the law “does not require an ‘independent’ investigator,” which follows Goodell’s statement in May sharing his “appreciation to Ted Wells and his colleagues for performing a thorough and independent investigation.”

The double-speak figures to factor into the case. Wells cited attorney-client privilege to prevent Brady from accessing information about his case after boasting of his independence from the league and allowed a lawyer from his firm to cross-examine Brady at his appeal in the commissioner’s office after the lawyer played a key role in the “independent” investigation of Brady for the Wells Report.

Berman acknowledged “strengths and weaknesses” on both sides. He opined that quarterbacks should know whether the pigskin they use meets regulations: “He’s the one who throws the ball.”

Whether Tom Brady or Jimmy Garoppolo throws the ball on the opening night of the NFL season this September 10 depends more on whether Judge Berman thinks the NFL broke its own rules in the investigation and punishment than whether Tom Brady broke the rules during play.


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