New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady spoke publicly for the first time since the release on the Wells Report at a raucous lecture-hall event at Salem State University in northeast Massachusetts.
“It’s only been thirty hours, so I haven’t had time to digest it fully,” Brady said of the report that offered a “more probable than not” verdict on whether that the quarterback knew about the alleged deflation of footballs by a team employee, an act that the report also deemed “more probable than not.” When Jim Gray, Brady’s on-stage interlocutor, pressed him, the quarterback retorted, “Well my athletic career has been better than my academic career. I’m used to reading Xs and Os. This was a little bit longer.”
Brady smiled throughout the brief interrogation from Gray, a man the quarterback characterized as being “known for hard-hitting questions.” But even before Gray reached question marks, the hometown crowd roundly booed. Mentions of “Wells Report” or other phrases associated with the so-called Deflate-gate controversy elicited loud and widespread jeers. When Jim Gray asked if Deflate-gate tainted the Super Bowl victory, Brady laughed and the outraged crowd issued catcalls.
“Absolutely not,” the Super Bowl MVP opined on whether he thought the controversy tainted February’s last-minute triumph over the Seattle Seahawks. “Because we earned and achieved everything we got this year as a team. I’m very proud of that, and our fans should be too.”
Despite failing to find anything beyond circumstantial evidence that Brady or anyone else in the Patriots organization deflated footballs below the league minimum, and actually showing evidence that most of the controversial balls fell to pressure levels consistent with where its scientific consultants told investigators they would fall to as a result of whether conditions, the Wells Report stands to propel NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to unleash penalties against Tom Brady, two low-level Patriots employees, and perhaps the organization as a whole.
“As a human, you care what people think,” Brady confessed. “I certainly care about what the people that are close to me think and what they care about. Also, as a public figure you learn that not everybody’s going to like you.”