NFL executive Troy Vincent added insult to injury in a scolding letter to Tom Brady, suspended four games by the league because an investigator found it “more probable than not” that the New England Patriots quarterback knew of a conspiracy to deflate footballs, a scheme also deemed “more probable than not.”
“With respect to your particular involvement, the report established that there is substantial and credible evidence to conclude you were at least generally aware of the actions of the Patriots’ employees involved in the deflation of the footballs and that it was unlikely that their actions were done without your knowledge,” the VP in charge of discipline wrote. “Moreover, the report documents your failure to cooperate fully and candidly with the investigation, including by refusing to produce any relevant electronic evidence (emails, texts, etc.), despite being offered extraordinary safeguards by the investigators to protect unrelated personal information, and by providing testimony that the report concludes was not plausible and contradicted by other evidence.
“Your actions as set forth in the report clearly constitute conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the game of professional football,” he continued. “The integrity of the game is of paramount importance to everyone in our league, and requires unshakable commitment to fairness and compliance with the playing rules. Each player, no matter how accomplished and otherwise respected, has an obligation to comply with the rules and must be held accountable for his actions when those rules are violated and the public’s confidence in the game is called into question.”
Tom Brady may be the most “accomplished and otherwise respected” player so disciplined in NFL history. NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle suspended Green Bay Packers running back Paul Hornung for the 1963 season for his involvement with a gambling ring, which offers the closest precedent for a player of Brady’s stature feeling the wrath of the NFL.