Just when you thought deflate-gate was a thing of the past, there’s a new book to rehash the whole thing, and it purports to shed light on why Tom Brady‘s fight against the NFL ended up in federal court.
Roger Goodell demanded Brady throw team employees under bus
The book, “12: The Inside Story of Tom Brady’s Fight for Redemption” by Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge, says that Brady offered to pay a $1 million fine for his alleged involvement with the maybe-intentional-deflation of footballs used in the 2015 AFC championship game.
But NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wanted more than money from the New England Patriots quarterback.
“He demanded that Brady publicly state that former Patriots equipment guys [John] Jastremski and [Jim] McNally had purposely tampered with footballs, even without his knowledge,” the book states.
“Tom said no.”
(McNally was a game-day locker-room attendant, not a full-time Patriots employee.)
Brady allegedly told NFL Players Association head DeMaurice Smith, “There’s no way I’m gonna ruin these guys for something I believe they didn’t do.”
‘Why am I not getting the support I deserve?’
When the Patriots arrived in the Phoenix area for Super Bowl XLIX after beating the Colts in that AFC title game, team owner Robert Kraft gave a passionate news conference in which he demanded that his team, namely Brady and coach Bill Belichick, receive apologies from the league if its investigation found footballs had not been deliberately deflated.
But a couple of months later, speaking from the NFL’s spring meetings, Kraft struck a different tone, saying he accepted the four-game suspension that Goodell had handed down for Brady and the hefty team fine, and wouldn’t appeal.
Brady was apparently livid.
“Kraft’s star quarterback Tom Brady watched the news conference along with millions of others on television,” the authors write. “He was devastated and angry. Brady grabbed his cell phone and punched in the contact number for DeMaurice Smith.”
“What the [expletive]?,” Brady shouted into the phone. “Why am I not getting the support I deserve on this thing?”
Smith assured Brady that the NFLPA would fight on his behalf, and together they took the league to federal court. After an appeals court upheld Brady’s suspension, effectively agreeing with the NFL that the league’s labor laws, in this case Article 46 of the collective-bargaining agreement, give Goodell the ability to punish players for a wide swath of offenses not spelled out elsewhere in the CBA.
It could have gone to the U.S. Supreme Court, but Brady dropped the fight and sat out the first four games of the 2016 season.
Both Kraft and Brady sat down with the authors, though Kraft would not discuss his relationship with Goodell on the record.
Smith told the authors that Brady’s much-ballyhooed first news conference in the days after news broke that the league would be looking into the level of inflation in the Patriots’ footballs from the AFC championship happened because Brady believed the matter was trivial.
“Tom gave the press conference because he didn’t think the situation was a big deal and that he hadn’t done anything wrong,” Smith said. “He thought he would address it once and move on.”
“His minor infraction became a capital murder case,” Sherman said in an ABC News interview.
Friday is Brady’s 41st birthday. It’s become something of a holiday at Patriots training camp, with fans singing “Happy Birthday” loudly and off-key multiple times during practice. The team did it up big this year too, commissioning a massive “12” cake to share with fans, and providing a giant birthday card for the public to sign.
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