Transcript of Tom Brady’s June 23 Appeal Hearing Released by NFLPA

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

 

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Tom Brady

The NFLPA has released the 457 page transcript of Tom Brady's June 23 appeal hearing with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. The testimony was released during a filing at Manhatten Federal Court on Tuesday. 

Read the Full Appeal Transcript Here 

About a month after this appeal, Roger Goodell upheld Brady's four game suspension and now the two sides have an August 12 date in New York federal court. 

The Cell Phone 

Arguably the biggest point of contention throughout this process has been the destruction of Brady's cell phone. Tom Brady explains the cell phone destruction to Commissioner Goodell as part of his testimony.  (excerpt below is from pages 90 & 91)

"I think that whenever I'm done with the phone, I don't want anybody ever to see the content of the phone, photos. Obviously there is a log with the smart phones of all my e-mail communications. So in those folders, there is player contracts. There's, you know, endorsement deals. There's-- along with photos of my family and so forth that I just don't want anyone to ever come in contact with those. 

A lot of people's private information that, had that phone -- if it shows up somewhere, then, you know, all the contacts in my phone, you know, wouldn't want that to happen. So I have always told the guy who swaps them out for me, make sure you get rid of the phone," Brady said. 

Private investigator Ted Wells also testified during the hearing and was asked about Brady not turning over the phone. Wells admits that it hurt Brady's credibility.  (excerpt from pages 338-339)

"Not only did it hurt him in terms of how we evaluated his credibility, but it put us in a hell of a spot because you have a person with this exemplary record and has done all these good things that people are saying, and yet they are conducting themselves in a fashion that suggests they are hiding something and may be guilty and not being forthcoming. 

So it was really hard to give them credit for the good stuff when he's basically looking you in the face and saying, I'm not going to give you my phone," Wells said. 

PSI Level's in Football

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Another interesting part of the appeal hearing comes on pages 114 - 117 when Tom Brady is being asked about his preferred PSI levels in footballs. 

Brady admits to having the pressure levels set at 12.5 and then is asked why he picked that number, the lowest allowable number you can pick. 

"I'm not sure why I picked it in particular, other than having to put some -- I think John said he did either 12.5 or 12.6. You know, we had to pick some number that we were ultimately going to set them to, so I said why don't we just set them all to 12.5 and that was it," Brady explained. 

Brady is then asked if he does in fact prefer the levels at the low end of the range. 

"I never thought about the ball, the air pressure in a football. The only time I have ever thought about the air pressure in a football was after the jets game when they were at the level of 16. 

So whenever I went to pick the game balls, I never once in 15 years ever asked what the ball pressure was set at until after the Jets game. So whether it's 12.5 or 12.6 or 12.7 or 1`2.8 or 12.9 or 13, all the way up to the Colts game, I still think it's inconsequential to what the actual feel of a grip of a football would be. 

So the fact that there could be a ball that's set at 12.5 that I would disapprove of, there could be a ball that's 13 that I could approve of. It all is depending on how the ball feels in my hand on that particular day." Brady said. 

Brady's Testimony Concludes

Brady's testimony concludes with Goodell asking if the equipment managers would have done anything inconsistent with what he wanted with the footballs. 

Brady answers "I don't think so, and that's why I believe they didn't do anything, because I know that, you know, how particular I am with the way that the ball feels. So I don't think that anyone would tamper with the ball."

The New England Patriots

The Patriots have begun training camp at the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium and Tom Brady has received a standing ovation from the fans every single day upon walking onto the field. 

The Patriots will play their first preseason game on August 13 at home against the Green Bay Packers, one day after the court date in New York. 

 

Related Slideshow: Deflategate Timeline of Events

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January 18

Patriots Win AFC Championship

The New England Patriots defeated the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 at Gillette Stadium to advance to their sixth Super Bowl in the Brady - Belichick era. 

It was after the AFC Championship that deflategate really started. The NFL brought in investigator Ted Wells to conduct the investigation into how the Patriots footballs were below the legal PSI level during the AFC title game. 

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January 22

Belichick and Brady Address Deflategate

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addressed deflategate for the first time in front of a crowded media center at Gillette Stadium. 

"I was completely and totally unaware of any of this. We're talking about these last couple of days until Monday morning" Belichick said. 

Later in the afternoon, Tom Brady addressed the deflategate situation, again in front of a packed house of media at Gillette Stadium. 

"I didn’t alter the ball in any way. I have a process that I go through before every game where I go in and I pick the footballs that I want to use for the game. Our equipment guys do a great job of breaking the balls in. they have a process that they go through. When I pick those balls out, at that point to me they’re perfect. I don’t want anyone touching the balls after that. I don’t want anyone rubbing them, putting any air in them, taking any air out. To me those balls are perfect and that’s what I expect when I show up on the field. That happened obviously on Sunday night. It was the same process that I always go through. I didn’t think anything of it. Obviously I woke up Monday morning and answered a question on the radio about it and that was the first I really heard about it," Brady said. 

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January 24

Belichick Holds Unscheduled Press Conference

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick held and unscheduled press conference to address deflategate in further detail. Belichick explained an internal investigation that the Patriots conducted to try and figure out what happened. 

"It's clear I don't know very much about this area. Over the past few days, I've learned a lot more than I ever knew. I believe now 100% that I have personally and we as an organization have followed every rule to the letter," Belichick said. 

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February 1

The New England Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 to win their fourth Super Bowl in the Brady - Belichick era. 

Tom Brady was named Super Bowl MVP. 

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April 24

President Obama Cracks Deflategate Joke 

President Obama welcomed the Patriots to the white house to celebrete their Super Bowl Championship and then cracked a deflategate joke. 

Tom Brady did not make the trip. 

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May 6

Wells Report Released

Ted Wells released his report on the deflategate scandal and placed the blame on the Patriots locker room attendant's as well as on Tom Brady.

Cick here for the Full Report

The report stated that "it is more probable than not that the New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules. In particular, we have concluded that it is more probable than not that Jim McNally (the Officials Locker Room attendant for the Patriots) and John Jastremski (an equipment assistant for the Patriots) participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots game balls, after the balls were examined by the referee."

The report goes to Brady "It is more probable than not that Tom Brady (the quarterback for the Patriots) was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities."

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May 7

Tom Brady Speaks at Salem State

Just one day after the Wells Report was Released, Tom Brady had a guest speaking appearance at Salem State University. The appearance was scheduled prior to the Wells Report coming out.

Brady was interviewed by Jim Gray and was asked about the report:

"I don't really have any reaction to it. Our owner commented on it yesterday. It's only been 30 hours, so I haven't had much time to digest it fully, but when I do, I'll let you know. I'll be sure to let you know how I feel about it, and everyone else."

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May 11

Tom Brady is Suspended 4 Games

Just five days after the Wells Report was released, Tom Brady was suspended four games without pay by the NFL.

Brady's first game of the season will come in mid October against the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis. 

Following the announcement, several statements were released.

Bob Kraft Statement on Punishment

Don Yee (Brady's Agent) Statement on Punishment

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May 12

Brady Hires  Attorney Jeffrey Kessler

Tom Brady added attorney Jeffrey Kessler to his legal team. Kessler has a long history of being a real agitator to the NFL and has helped win some major cases in favor of high-profiled NFL players.

Kessler has represented player associations in all major sports (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL) and individual athletes in the NFL, NBA, AFL and ML

The GoLocalProv Sports team took a look at some of the major cases regarding the NFL that Kessler has won

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May 14

Patriots Release Wells Report Rebuttal

The New England Patriots released a 19,000 word essay rebutting just about every point that is made in the Wells Report.

Click here to read the full rebuttal

The Wells Report Rebuttal states:

The Report dismisses the scientific explanation for the natural loss of psi of the Patriots footballs by inexplicably rejecting the Referee’s recollection of what gauge he used in his pregame inspection. Texts acknowledged to be attempts at humor and exaggeration are nevertheless interpreted as a plot to improperly deflate footballs, even though none of them refer to any such plot. There is no evidence that Tom Brady preferred footballs that were lower than 12.5 psi and no evidence anyone even thought that he did. All the extensive evidence which contradicts how the texts are interpreted by the investigators is simply dismissed as “not plausible.” Inconsistencies in logic and evidence are ignored.

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May 14

Brady, NFLPA Officially File Appeal

Everyone knew it was coming, but Brady and the NFLPA made the appeal official on Thursday, May 14. The official appeal came just hours after the Patriots released a Wells Report Rebuttal.

From this point, the NFL had 10 days to name an arbitrator and schedule the hearing.

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May 15

NFLPA Makes Letter to NFL Regarding Brady Appeal Public

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell named himself as the arbitrator for the Brady appeal. Shortly after that, the NFLPA rmade their letter to the NFL, in which they ask Goodell to choose an independent arbitrator, public.

Read the Full Letter Here

Excerpt Below

Please be advised that the NFLPA and Mr. Brady intend to call both you (Troy Vincent) and Commissioner Goodell as essential witnesses in the proceeding.

In light of the above, the NFLPA believes that neither Commissioner Goodell nor anyone with close ties to the NFL can serve as arbitrator in Mr. Brady’s appeal under governing legal standards. The credibility and testimony of both you and Commissioner Goodell will be at issue in the hearing as well as numerous procedural issues regarding your testimony and the testimony of the Commissioner.

Accordingly, this letter will serve as a formal demand that the Commissioner follow the Rice precedent and appoint an independent person to serve as arbitrator over Mr. Brady’s appeal. If the Commissioner does not appoint such a neutral arbitrator, the NFLPA and Mr. Brady will seek recusal and pursue all available relief to obtain an arbitrator who is not evidently partial.

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May 19

Robert Kraft Accepts Deflategate Penalties

Patriots owner Robert Kraft accepted the deflategate penalties, which include a $1 million fine and the loss of a 2016 first round pick and a  2017 fourth round pick.

"I’m going to accept reluctantly what he’s given us and not continue this dialogue and rhetoric and we won’t appeal. I know a lot of patriot fans are going to be disappointed in that decision, but I hope they trust my judgement and know that I really feel that this point in time that taking this off the agenda is the best thing for the New England Patriots, our fans and the NFL and i hope you all can respect that," Kraft said as part of a lengthy statement.

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June 23

Tom Brady's Appeal Hearing

Tom Brady's appeal hearing is held at the NFL Headquarters in New York City.

The GoLocal Sports team took a look at the 5 Things to Know About Brady's Appeal

The hearing went for only one day but lasted just over 10 hours.

After the hearing, Brady's attorney Jeffrey Kessler told the media that they had "made a compelling case. "

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July 28

Roger Goodell Upholds Brady's 4 Game Suspension

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld Tom Brady's 4 game suspension for his role in deflating footballs. Goodell handed down the punishment in 20 page announcement siting that " by the time of the AFC Championship Game, the inflation level of the footballs was a matter of particular interest to Mr. Brady."

A big reason for the suspension was Brady's failure to cooperate, in particular destroying his phone.

"Mr. Brady explained that when he changes cell phones, he gives his old cell phone to an assistant with the instruction 'to destroy the phone so that no one can ever, you know, reset it or do something where the information  is available to anyone.'

Mr. Brady's direction that his cell phone (and its relevant evidence) be destroyed on or about March 6 is very troubling. Rather than simply failing to cooperate, Mr. Brady made a deliberate effort to ensure that investigators  would never have access to information that he had been asked to produce."

The Announcement was followed by several statements:

New England Patriots Statement

Don Yee (Brady's Agent) Statement

NFLPA Statement

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July 29

Tom Brady Responds via Facebook

The day after his suspension was upheld, Tom Brady responded with a statement on his Facebook page.

"I am very disappointed by the NFL’s decision to uphold the 4 game suspension against me. I did nothing wrong, and no one in the Patriots organization did either."

The Destruction of his Cell Phone

"I also disagree with yesterdays (July 28) narrative surrounding my cell phone. I replaced my broken Samsung phone with a new iPhone 6 AFTER my attorneys made it clear to the NFL that my actual phone device would not be subjected to investigation under ANY circumstances. As a member of a union, I was under no obligation to set a new precedent going forward, nor was I made aware at any time during Mr. Wells investigation, that failing to subject my cell phone to investigation would result in ANY discipline.

Most importantly, I have never written, texted, emailed to anybody at anytime, anything related to football air pressure before this issue was raised at the AFC Championship game in January. To suggest that I destroyed a phone to avoid giving the NFL information it requested is completely wrong."

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July 29

Robert Kraft Addresses Suspension

Patriots CEO Robert Kraft holds a surprise press conference just prior to Belichick's pre training camp press conference and addressed the Brady suspension.

"Given the facts, evidence and laws of science that underscore this entire situation, it is completely incomprehensible to me that the league continues to take steps to disparage one of its all-time great players and a man for whom I have the utmost respect. Personally, this is very sad and disappointing to me"

Kraft apologizes to fans and Tom Brady:

"I want to apologize to the fans of the New England Patriots and Tom Brady. I was wrong to put my faith in the league,"

Kraft Still Believes in Brady

"I continue to believe in and unequivocally support Tom Brady.

Tom Brady is a person of great integrity and is a great ambassador of the game on and off the field. Yet, for reasons I can't comprehend there are those in the league office more determined to prove they were right than admitting culpability of their own or take any responsibility for the initiation of a process and ensuing investigation that was flawed.

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July 29

Brady/ NFLPA Officially File a Law Suit vs. NFL

The NFLPA officially filed its suit against the NFL in federal Court on Tom Brady's behalf. The lawsuit was filed in Minnesota. 

The suit asks the federal court to make a decision by September 4 or grant an injunction. If an injunction is granted, Tom Brady would be able to play until the legal process is over.

READ THE LAWSUIT HERE

"It will be interesting to see what the court does if Brady requests an injunction. Litigation takes a long time and it is unlikely that the court case here would resolve prior to the start of the regular NFL season. Granting Brady an injunction would mean that he plays the games from which Goodell suspended him. But what if the court ultimately finds that Goodell’s Decision is valid? How will Brady pay if the first four games are already played? Or vice versa, if Brady is not granted an injunction and it is ultimately determined that Goodell was wrong, how can Brady be made whole? More importantly, how can Patriots Nation be made whole?" said GoLocal contributor Aivi Nguyen. 

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July 30

Training Camp Begins

The New England Patriots begin training camp for the 2015 season at the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium with some uncertainty who the quarterback will be when the season begins.

Should be a very interesting atmosphere one way or the other.

Practices are free and open to the public.

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July 30

NFLPA /Brady vs NFL to be Heard in New York

On Thursday the Minnesota court ruled that the case should be heard in New York, where the NFL had already filed a lawsuit. In New York, the case will be heard by Judge Richard Berman.

The lawsuit filed by the NFLPA will be transferred to New York.

SEE THE LAWSUIT HERE

"The Court appreciates no "compelling circumstances" undermining application of the first-filed rule to transfer this action from Minnesota to New York, where the first action was filed. Indeed, the Court sees little reason for this action to have commenced in Minnesota at all. Brady plays for a team in Massachusetts; the Union is headquartered in Washington, D.C.; the NFL is headquartered in New York; the arbitration proceedings took place in New York; and the award was issued in New York," the Minnesota Courts in a statement.

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July 31

Dates are Set for Brady's Federal Court Appeal

Here are the key dates:

August 7 - Brady's Lawyers and the NFL must file a memo in which they state their positions.

August 12- A settlement conference has been scheduled  in which Berman requests that both Brady and Goodell attend in order to try and come to an agreement before the court decides. 

August 19 - Both parties will meet again to hear oral arguments or continue on with the settlement conference. 

Judge Berman will make his decision following the August 19 date if the parties have not agreed to one by then. 

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August 4

Brady' June 23 Appeal Transcript Release

The NFLPA released the full transcript of the June 23 hearing in which tom Brady appealed his four game suspension to Roger Goodell. The transcript is 457 pages long. 

READ THE FULL TRANSCRIPT HERE

Brady explains his cell phone destruction to Roger Goodell. 

"I think that whenever I'm done with the phone, I don't want anybody ever to see the content of the phone, photos. Obviously there is a log with the smart phones of all my e-mail communications. So in those folders, there is player contracts. There's, you know, endorsement deals. There's-- along with photos of my family and so forth that I just don't want anyone to ever come in contact with those. 

A log of people's private information that, had that phone -- if it shows up somewhere, then, you know, all the contacts in my phone, you know, wouldn't want that to happen. So I have always told the guy who swaps them out for me, make sure you get rid of the phone." 

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September 3

After weeks of court cases with nothing happening and nowhere near a settlement New York Supreme Court Judge Richard Berman overturns Tom Brady's 4 game deflategate suspension. 

In his statement, Berman said "Based upon the foregoing and applicable legal authorities, the cour hereby denies the Management Council's motion to confirm the Award and grants the Players Association's motion  to vacate the Award, thereby vacating the four-game suspension of Tom Brady, effective immediatley. 

READ THE ORDER HERE 

Shortly after the decision, several statements were released. 

Roger Goodell says the NFL will appeal. 

NFLPA says rights of players are affirmed. 

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September 3

Goodell, NFL Announce They Will Appeal Berman Ruling 

Almost immediatly after Judge Berman's decision to vacate Brady's suspension, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell annnounced that the NFL would appeal the suspension to the second circuit court of appeals. 

Goodell's Statement

"We are grateful to Judge Berman for hearing this matter, but respectfully disagree with today's decision. We will appeal today's ruling in order to uphold the collectively bargained responsibility to protect the integrity of the game. The commissioner's responsibility to secure the competitive fairness of our game is a paramount principle, and the league and our 32 clubs will continue to pursue a path to that end. While the legal phase of this process continues, we look forward to focusing on football and the opening of the regular season."

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September 4

Tom Brady releases a statement via his facebook page on the deflategate decision. These are his first public comments since the decision. 

Read the Statement Below

The regular season starts tomorrow morning and I can’t wait to fully commit my energy and emotion to focus on the challenges of the 2015 NFL season. I want to thank my family, my friends, all of the fans, past and current players and my teammates for the support they have given me throughout this challenging experience. I also want to thank Judge Berman and his staff for their efforts to resolve this matter over the past five weeks. I am very grateful. My thanks also to the union's legal team who has fought so hard right along with me. While I am pleased to be eligible to play, I am sorry our league had to endure this. I don’t think it has been good for our sport - to a large degree, we have all lost. I am also sorry to anyone whose feelings I may have hurt as I have tried to work to resolve this situation. I love the NFL. It is a privilege to be a member of the NFL community and I will always try to do my best in representing my team and the league in a way that would make all members of this community proud. I look forward to the competition on the playing field and I hope the attention of NFL fans can return to where it belongs - on the many great players and coaches who work so hard every week, and sacrifice so much, to make this game great. Most importantly, I look forward to representing the New England Patriots on Thursday night in our season opener. I hope to make all of our fans proud this year … and beyond!

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September 2015 - January

NFL Season Goes on 

Tom Brady played the entire 2015 NFL season without interruption. 

Brady led the Patriots to the AFC Championship Game where they lost to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos.

Brady threw 36 touchdown passes and averaged nearly 300 yards per game for New England.  

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April 25, 2016

Tom Brady’s 4-Game Deflategate Suspension Reinstated by US Appeals Court

The United States Court of Appeals has reinstated Tom Brady's 4 game Deflategate suspension, the court announced on Monday, April 25. 

"We hold that the Commissioner properly exercised his board discretion under the collective bargaining agreement and that his procedural rulings were properly founded in that agreement and did not deprive Brady of fundamental fairness. Accordingly, we REVERSE the judgement of the district court and REMAND with instructions to confirm the award," the court said in their statement.

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May 25, 2016

Tom Brady & his Legal Team File One Last Appeal 

While according to many legal experts it is unlikely to work, Tom Brady and his growing legal team have filed one last appeal to the Second Circuit Court of appeals. If the court decides to take on the case (they could throw it out), the appeal will be heard by all 13 judges. 

The appeal was orginally supposed to be filed within two weeks of the ruling (see previous slide), however, Brady and his team were granted an extension. 

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May 25, 2016

Patriots File Amicus Brief in Support of Brady, NFLPA

Shortly after Brady's appeal was filed, Robert Kraft and the New England Patriots filed an amicus curiae brief in support fo thier quarterback and the NFLPA. 

An amicus curiae brief is a brief filed by a non-party, or "friend of the court" in support of Tom Brady and the NFLPA's petition to have a rehearing in front of all 13 judges. 

Read the brief in it's entirety here. 

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June 1

OTA's Underway 

OTA's are well underway at the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium. 

Back up quarterback Jimmy Garappolo has seen significant reps with the first team offense. 

Last year during training camp, Brady saw a large amount of the reps despite his 4 game suspension still being in tact at the time. 

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July 13

Federal Court Rejects Tom Brady's Deflategate Appeal 

Tom Brady's Deflategate appeal has been rejected by a federal appeals court on Wednesday, leaving Brady and the Patriots with one hope left and that is to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Brady was asking for re-hearing in front of the full 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals after a three judge panel reinstated Brady's 4-game suspension back in April.

 
 

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