In the wake of the New England Patriots’ persistent stream of defiance in the face of the NFL’s disciplinary decisions regarding the organization’s culpability in the events referred to as ‘Deflategate’, there is one strikingly interesting fact that is not getting as much attention as it should.
In spite of the fact that the team’s website, The Wells Report in Context, vociferously maintains and defends the innocence of both John Jastremski and Jim McNally, the Patriots indefinitely suspended both individuals after the Wells Report was released last week.
Given the consistency with which the organization has taken a defiant, combative stance toward the league’s handling of the investigation in its treatment as a result, it would seem incongruous that they would throw these two individuals under the bus simply because the league’s findings accused them of wrongdoing if they were indeed believed to be innocent.
McNally and Jastremski are the two individuals identified in the Wells Report as the likely participants in orchestrating the deflation of the game day footballs for use by Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Although the report suggests a belief that the practice extends beyond one event, the focus of the investigation surrounded the AFC Championship game, before which the Patriots’ opponents, the Indianapolis Colts, forewarned the league that New England’s footballs may be improperly deflated.
If the Patriots are confident in their belief that the deflation of their equipment was fully accountable by the Ideal Gas Laws that head coach Bill Belichick preached leading up to the Super Bowl, then they would not be in any way serviced from distancing themselves from those who are falsely accused.
Quite the opposite in fact. In contrast to their vehement protestations, the fact that they were unwilling to stand by members of their organization that were implicated in violating the integrity of the game certainly paints an unintended narrative of guilt.
The Patriots chose to take the stance that the entire organization is completely free of any wrongdoing. In doing so, they have implicitly defended the innocence of every member of the organization. To thereby offer up a sacrificial lamb betrays the supposedly unwavering consistency of belief in collective innocence.
Might it be possible that the Patriots chose only to double down in the wake of the announcement of the actual discipline, even in spite of the fact that owner Robert Kraft already condemned the Wells Report upon its release—as did Brady’s agent?
After the announcement of discipline, Kraft made a statement implying that the organization would have been willing to accept a lesser punishment. Was the suspension of McNally and Jastremski a pre-emptive decision to accept the punishment and move on?
Or perhaps the real reason that they were fired is because it was revealed through their text messages that they used saucy language in reference to their celebrity quarterback. Surely that is as plausible a justification as any the Patriots have presented throughout this entire process.