Embattled New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has hit back at the NFL after a four-game suspension for his role in the 'Deflategate' controversy was upheld on Tuesday.
Brady was suspended for four games after an NFL investigation into whether the Patriots used improperly inflated footballs in the AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.
I did nothing wrong, and no one in the Patriots organization did either
Brady appealed, but Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld the suspension.
"I am very disappointed by the NFL's decision to uphold the 4 game suspension against me," Brady wrote in his 507-word Facebook post.
"I did nothing wrong, and no one in the Patriots organization did either.
"Despite submitting to hours of testimony over the past 6 months, it is disappointing that the Commissioner upheld my suspension based upon a standard that it was 'probable' that I was 'generally aware' of misconduct.
"The fact is that neither I, nor any equipment person, did anything of which we have been accused. He dismissed my hours of testimony and it is disappointing that he found it unreliable."
Brady added that he respected the commissioner's authority, but he "will not allow my unfair discipline to become a precedent for other NFL players without a fight".
During his 10-hour appeal last month at NFL headquarters in New York, Goodell said Brady, one of the league's most high-profile players, admitted he directed an assistant to destroy the mobile phone on March 6, the same day he was due to meet with league investigators.
But Brady, in his statement, said as a member of the NFL players union he was not going to hand his phone over anyway and that he was never told that failing to do so would result in any discipline.
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 organisation did either.
Despite submitting to hours of testimony over the past 6 months, it is disappointing that the Commissioner upheld my suspension based upon a standard that it was "probable" that I was "generally aware" of misconduct.
The fact is that neither I, nor any equipment person, did anything of which we have been accused. He dismissed my hours of testimony and it is disappointing that he found it unreliable.
I also disagree with yesterdays narrative surrounding my cellphone. 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.
To try and reconcile the record and fully cooperate with the investigation after I was disciplined in May, we turned over detailed pages of cell phone records and all of the emails that Mr. Wells requested. We even contacted the phone company to see if there was any possible way we could retrieve any/all of the actual text messages from my old phone.
In short, we exhausted every possibility to give the NFL everything we could and offered to go thru the identity for every text and phone call during the relevant time. Regardless, the NFL knows that Mr. Wells already had ALL relevant communications with Patriots personnel that either Mr. Wells saw or that I was questioned about in my appeal hearing.
There is no "smoking gun" and this controversy is manufactured to distract from the fact they have zero evidence of wrongdoing.
I authorized the NFLPA to make a settlement offer to the NFL so that we could avoid going to court and put this inconsequential issue behind us as we move forward into this season. The discipline was upheld without any counter offer.
I respect the Commissioner's authority, but he also has to respect the CBA and my rights as a private citizen. I will not allow my unfair discipline to become a precedent for other NFL players without a fight.
Lastly, I am overwhelmed and humbled by the support of family, friends and our fans who have supported me since the false accusations were made after the AFC Championship game.
I look forward to the opportunity to resume playing with my teammates and winning more games for the New England Patriots.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies