NEW YORK (AP) — Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for his role in using underinflated footballs during the AFC championship game has been upheld by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The league announced the decision Tuesday, with Goodell saying that the New England quarterback told an assistant to destroy Brady’s cellphone on or just before March 6. Brady met with independent investigator Ted Wells on that day.
“He did so even though he was aware that the investigators had requested access to text messages and other electronic information that had been stored on that phone,” Goodell said in his decision.
“During the four months that the cellphone was in use, Brady had exchanged nearly 10,000 text messages, none of which can now be retrieved from that device.”
Calling the appeal process “a sham,” Tom Brady’s agent, Don Yee, said Goodell “failed to ensure a fair process” in upholding the quarterback’s four-game suspension.
The Patriots used the words “folly” and “incomprehensible” in their statement, then said they “unequivocally believe in and support Tom Brady.”
Brady acknowledged in his testimony he was aware of investigators’ request for information from the cellphone before he had it destroyed, the appeal decision said.
After releasing the report in May, Wells said he had told Brady and Yee he did not need to see his phone and would have accepted a list of communications.
Wells’ investigation had no subpoena power and Brady was under no legal obligation to cooperate.
The NFL had some messages from Brady sent to an equipment manager’s phone, but investigators wanted to see if Brady’s cellphone had other messages related to footballs.