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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tom Brady, Cell Phones, and Timing

Have you ever heard the phrase, life is all in the timing?

I'm sure most of you have; but if you haven't, it's a simple way of saying that all the choices, all the actions, and all the consequences of our lives are a matter of when as much as where. Walking across a busy street when the light shows you can go, and you live. Walking across when the light indicates you shouldn't, and you might not. Walking across in front of the car JUST as the driver looks at a text and you might just have issues as well.

Okay. Fair enough?

I've held off on weighing in on the whole DeflateGate scandal for the most part - I'm partisan, and that will naturally color my views. But in light of today's releases and decisions, I can't keep quiet any longer.

Let's look at a few issues, shall we?

1) Incriminating texts. There are only two possibilities regarding the existence of the so-called 'incriminating texts' (IT) (and we could argue all day what constitutes incriminating, but we're not going to. Let's just assume that the text in question is from Brady and says 'Deflate the footballs'.): They EXIST, or they DO NOT. There is no middle ground, no grey area. A or B, on or off, one or zero.

But here's the thing about texts: there's a sender and a receiver, and both people have copies of the entire conversation! If those IT are out there, they're on two phones - only one of which is Tom Brady's. There is a complete record of the texts on the other phone as well. Now, there is no mention in the Wells Report of the text of any such IT, just a sense that there's something else floating around out there.

That means that there weren't any IT on the phones they did have access to, and that their desire to view Brady's phone was no more than a fishing expedition, a hope to discover something incriminating.

I know that this was not a court of law, and the standards are remarkably lower, but think of it this way: when the police go to the judge and ask for a search warrant, they have to be very precise in describing exactly what they're looking for. It has to be 'We want to search the house of Joe Smith for two kilos of marijuana we have reason to believe is present' and if they happen to discover a stash of guns, ammo, and $15,000 hidden under the mattress in the process of finding the pot (which was in his boot under the bed), well, that's admissible. But they can't ask the judge, 'We want to search the house of Joe Smith because he has a reputation of being a bad, bad boy and we think we might find something. We don't know what it is, but we're sure there's something there.' That won't fly; a judge would laugh you out of court. Ted Wells, being a highly-regarded lawyer, knows this. Yet he still wanted to try it with Brady's cell phone.

ANYWAYS, the point of this is that if the texts exist they're on another phone, if they didn't exist then they're not on any phone and they were going fishing - and I certainly don't blame Brady for refusing them that!

2) Destroyed Cell Phone. Here's the simple question: Do the facts stand up? Brady has stated that he routinely destroys, or has his assistant destroy, his cell phone after about four months. Therefore, there should be a shredded cell phone (and a new one purchased) at the beginning of November 2014, the beginning of July 2014, and back and back. In fact, there should be another record for July 2015, showing the same, if that statement is true. This is easy to check and virtually impossible to fake, unless the NFL wants to believe that back in 2002 (or whenever it started) Tom Brady had the foresight to start destroying cell phones just in case he ever needed deniability.

3) Wells Report. Just a mention here. The Report blasted Brady - and he was suspended in part - for failing to hand over a cell phone (presumably, the one that was destroyed)(although, how many cell phones might Tom Brady have? You really think he has just one?) when asked. That's how it's worded - he didn't hand it over. Not 'he told us it was destroyed'; not handing it over. That certainly implies that it existed, doesn't it?

3) Timing. Stephen A. Smith is known for many things. He likes to be in the limelight; he likes to have a reputation for being the first with the information; he is seen as an unpaid mouthpiece for the NFL; he has been seen as having an antipathy towards the New England Patriots.

So who better for the NFL to leak information to?

'I've heard' said Smith - not reporting, just passing on a rumor - 'that on or slightly before March 6, 2015' Brady destroyed his cell phone. ON OR SLIGHTLY BEFORE. Oh, and in the same gossip-fest? Smith gets to break the news that he 'heard' (again, deniability) that the NFL would be upholding the suspension in the next 24 to 48 hours.


So as Brady begins to be seen as a sympathetic figure - hung out to dry by a flawed process and made to wait and wait and wait for the result of an appeal - and as more and more of the NFL fan base begins to think that this whole issue is much ado about nothing, suddenly there's a report that, on the surface, certainly appears to make Tom Brady look like he actively concealed evidence. This hits the morning news cycle; by lunch it's water-cooler talk across the country; and by mid-afternoon, the news of the upholding comes out.


Certainly interesting timing, don't you think?

'How can we make Brady look bad? People are starting to like him again!'
'Well, we could bring up that cell phone thing.'
'Yeah, but he explained that.'
'We don't have to say that. Or, maybe, just slip that in. Nobody will hear it anyways.'
'So who should we leak this to? We can't sit on the decision much longer.'
'Call up Smith. If he reports the cell phone thing, he can also break the timing for the appeal.'
'Make sure he knows, if he leaves out the cell phone, he'll never work in dis bidness again!'
'Got it, boss.'

In conclusion, I find it awfully convenient for the NFL that Brady destroyed his cell phone.

Frankly, I think the federal courts will think so too.