The New England Patriots yesterday furthered their assault on the league’s integrity, initiating a ‘shock and awe’ information dump bundled into a website dubbed The Wells Report in Context, referencing the findings of Ted Wells, the investigator hired by the NFL to look into the Deflategate allegations.
As it turns out, a bit of sifting through the data bomb the Patriots detonated reveals an alternative motivation, which suggests that a more appropriate moniker for New England’s defense procedure would be Deflectgate.
Of course, the primary defense for many who are subject to allegations is to engage in deflection, both in terms of redirecting focus and in reassigning blame. The Patriots have been heavily engaged in both during the course of this investigative process.
I have already explored much of both over the course of the past week or so, including articles published earlier today. The information dump delivered yesterday revealed a wealth of deflection and misdirection, misrepresenting quotes from the Wells Report and pointing to absurd alternative explanations for incriminating pieces of evidence.
But we continue to learn that the level of deflection goes much deeper, and that the Patriots actively attempted to redirect the focus of Wells’ investigation, repeatedly, all the while framing it under the guise of good faith and going above and beyond their obligations for participation in the process.
Much of the above has come to light thanks to the Patriots themselves in publishing a letter sent to Wells and his investigative team from Daniel Goldberg, an attorney who represented the team’s interests during the investigation.
In the letter, Goldberg begins by turning the investigation on its head and accusing the league of wrongdoing and spreading false information, portraying the organization as the victim of a conspiracy. This was a previously well-publicized tactic.
The letter goes on to boast about the team’s level of cooperation, noting the number of interviews taken from certain individuals while only separately acknowledging that a smaller number of those interviews were actually conducted officially after Wells was hired.
More impressively, the letter stresses the amount of assistance that the Patriots volunteered, all of which was clearly in an effort to bolster their own defense. The letter claims that the organization offered for interview two security personnel that served near the location of the officials’ locker room, in addition to another individual who was willing to claim that he, and not Tom Brady, was the subject of certain references to “he” and “him” in incriminating text messages.
As if that were not enough, the Patriots then emphasized the point that other teams have supposedly cheated, first citing a game between the Vikings and the Panthers in which both were warned about subjecting their game balls to an on-field heating device.
Further, the letter accuses Colts ball boys of sporting needles beneath their longs-sleeve shirts, no doubt for the purpose of deflating footballs, in a prior season. This, all the while maintaining incredulity over the idea that Jim McNally could have possibly had a needle in his possession while he locked himself in a bathroom near the field with the game balls for 100 seconds.
Within the website’s main document itself, the Patriots also thought they should prioritize the fact that a Colts assistant tested the PSI of the ball the team intercepted, citing it as a rule violation because only a game official was permitted to do so. While true, it’s a clearly deliberate deflection and a comical lack of awareness of priority.
In summation, the Patriots conclude that they “went above and beyond mere cooperation and encouraged and facilitated the investigators getting information beyond what they specifically asked for”. Such unimpeachable integrity should not go unnoticed.