Tom Brady's Agent Slams NFL Report On 'Deflategate'
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was asked to respond tonight to the 243-page NFL report that accused him of being less than forthright. An investigation into the Patriots' use of underinflated footballs known as deflategate found that Brady made implausible claims. He spoke on stage at Salem State University.
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TOM BRADY: I don't have really any reaction. Our owner commented on it yesterday, and it's only been 30 hours so I haven't had much time to digest it fully. But when I do, I'll be sure to let you know how I feel about it.
BRADY: And everybody else.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
So that's what Tom Brady had to say. His agent, Don Yee, had much more to say earlier today when I spoke with him about why he thinks his client is innocent and the NFL is not.
DON YEE: Well, Robert, you have to understand the NFL disciplinary process essentially is one that deems the subject of any investigation guilty and asks that subject to then prove their innocence - in other words, proving a negative.
SIEGEL: But in this case, this report which shows pretty well that a couple of guys in the locker room knew that Tom Brady likes a soft football. One of them called himself the deflator. Apart from Brady's role, don't you suspect something fishy there?
YEE: No, I don't, Robert. The Wells report did not do a very fair job of explaining all of the other interpretations and assumptions it could have made. For example, it did rely extensively on those text messages. I would challenge anybody to give me their cell phone and have me take snippets of a text conversation between themselves and a friend and then put that out for the world to see with absolutely zero context.
SIEGEL: No, that could be very embarrassing to anyone. But let me ask you a question. Having read the report, do you conclude that regardless of who was responsible for it, that the New England Patriots footballs were inflated below the minimum standard by the time of half-time in the game, whereas they had been checked before the game and at that time were at the minimum standard? Do you accept that much as factual based on what the report shows?
YEE: No, I don't.
SIEGEL: You don't accept that?
YEE: I don't accept that. I don't even accept that because it's very clear, the report actually lays out the absence of any league protocols on how to handle footballs. There are no protocols. For example, every referee can buy any gauge to use in measuring the footballs. Number two - no measurements are even written down or recorded. In fact, the Wells investigators simply had to rely on referee Walt Anderson's memory.
SIEGEL: But to take issue with that finding - for you to argue that there is no validity to that finding, you would have to believe that the Patriots were being framed by this report - that the numbers were all being juggled in order to make it look that is something that wasn't true was true. Is that what you think this was - a malicious assault on Tom Brady and the Patriots?
YEE: I do think there was some malice intended toward Tom and the organization. I don't know if the malice was intentional. They've been winning for a long time, as we know, and I've always told my friends who've inquired about the NFL - I tell them, there is no jealousy or envy like NFL jealousy or envy.
SIEGEL: But the implication of what you're saying is that the NFL was open to or even wanted to have a tainted AFC championship game, and it just doesn't seem likely that that would be in the interest of the National Football League to have that.
YEE: I'm not necessarily saying that, Robert. I'm saying that it's my opinion that there may be people within the NFL who have certain agendas as to how they want to see certain teams perform or how games be staged.
SIEGEL: Well, Don Yee, thank you very much for talking with us and taking the time today.
YEE: Thank you for having me on.
SIEGEL: That's Don Yee, who's the agent for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.