Deflategate
August 10, 2015

No, Deflategate somehow still isn't over. Just on the off chance enough people haven't weighed in yet, NBA great Magic Johnson made his own take known Monday.

"I'm a Tom Brady fan. I don't want to see Tom Brady miss one game," Johnson told the Providence Journal. "If not, I'm not watching. I want to see Tom Brady and the New England Patriots."

For the blessedly unaware, the star quarterback has been suspended for four games for his alleged role in deflating footballs to help the Pats beat the Indianapolis Colts in 2015's AFC Championship en route to a Super Bowl victory. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell held up the suspension after an internal appeal, and the parties will sit down for a settlement conference in court Wednesday. Johnson doesn't believe deflated footballs would've given Brady & Co. an advantage.

"One thing that people have to realize is that players have to play," Johnson said. "I don't care about videos, balls, they don't decide the game. It's players who decide the games. I don't care what anybody says. They went out there and won the game, point blank. They won the Super Bowl."

It's really heartening to see poor, marginalized world-class athletes sticking up for each other. Julie Kliegman

July 29, 2015

One day after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell upheld New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's four-game suspension for his role in the "Deflategate” scandal, Patriots owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick gave a rather icy press conference during which Kraft made clear that he was displeased with Goodell's decision. It's no surprise Kraft would disagree with the league's suspension of his franchise player — but could the decision spell the end of Roger Goodell's commissionership?

Kraft's ire is likely drawn from the fact that he decided to accept the original punishment Goodell levied against the Patriots in May, which cost the team $1 million in fines and two future draft picks. (Brady's appeal of his own suspension was a separate effort initiated through the NFL Players Association.) Some thought Kraft's concession to the league would pave the way for a downgrade in Brady's post-appeal suspension — especially because Kraft and Goodell have long been friends — but that didn't turn out to be the case.

Now, Brady will likely file a federal suit against the NFL, which could spell disaster for Goodell by forcing him to air dirty laundry in court, The Daily Beast reports. Explaining his seemingly arbitrary punishments — two games for knocking a woman unconscious in an elevator, three games for driving a car under the influence and crashing into a pole, four games for maybe ordering up deflated footballs — could tie Goodell in knots in front of a judge. Under league policy, Kraft would have to convince 23 other team owners besides himself to vote Goodell guilty of actions "detrimental to the best interests of the league" in order to oust him — but with a federal lawsuit from Brady on the horizon, and with Kraft alienated as his biggest supporter, it's safe to say Deflategate will continue to haunt Goodell for months to come. Kimberly Alters

July 28, 2015

The NFL issued a 20-page statement Tuesday announcing that it would uphold the four-game suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady after he was found "at least generally aware" of team employees tampering with game balls during the 2015 playoffs. The NFL originally suspended the star signal-caller back in May after a league-commissioned report found "credible evidence" that he was involved in the scheme.

The NFL said its decision was based in part on the fact that Brady destroyed a cell phone he used the week of the Patriots' January 18 playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts, The New York Times reports, during which it is alleged members of New England's staff deliberately deflated Patriots footballs to make them easier to grip. The cell phone apparently contained potentially incriminating evidence in the form of texts between Patriots staff members that seem to suggest Brady was aware of team employees adjusting the air pressure in footballs. Brady has consistently denied knowledge of tampering, and appealed his original suspension in June, which set the stage for the league's ruling Tuesday. Kimberly Alters

May 19, 2015

Saying he wanted to end a process that "has taken way too long," New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Tuesday said his team would not appeal its punishment over Deflategate. While reiterating his belief that the league's investigation of alleged ball-tampering in last season's AFC Championship Game was unfair, Kraft said fighting the punishment would only extend the story and hurt the league.

"Although I might disagree with what is decided, I do have respect for the commissioner and believe that he's doing what he perceives to be in the best interests of the full 32 [teams]," Kraft said.

The NFL fined the Patriots $1 million and docked them two draft picks as punishment for the scandal, in which the Patriots allegedly deflated footballs so that they would be easier to throw and catch in bad weather. Quarterback Tom Brady, who was suspended four games for his involvement, is appealing his punishment with the support of the players' union. Jon Terbush

May 14, 2015

The NFL Players' Association filed an appeal Thursday on behalf of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who received a four-game suspension as punishment for his role in the "Deflategate" scandal. The organization also requested a neutral arbitrator to hear the appeal, given the league's "history of inconsistency and arbitrary decisions in disciplinary matters."

An investigation by league-appointed lawyer Ted Wells into whether the Patriots used intentionally underinflated footballs in the team's conference championship game against the Indianapolis Colts in January found that the Patriots signal-caller was "at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities." Brady was subsequently issued a four-game suspension effective at the start of the 2015-2016 NFL season, while the Patriots organization was fined $1 million and lost two draft picks.

Both Brady and the team have denied wrongdoing — despite rather incriminating text messages included in the report. Earlier Thursday, the Patriots published nearly 20,000 words of rebuttal to the report to a dedicated website, and a lawyer for the team claimed that the "deflator" referenced in the texts is a Patriots locker room attendant who was given the moniker because he was trying to lose weight. Kimberly Alters

May 12, 2015

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday accused the NFL of caring more about pseudo-scandals than racism.

"I find it stunning that the National Football League is more concerned about how much air is in a football than with a racist franchise name that denigrates Native Americans across the country," Reid said on the Senate floor. "The Redskins name is a racist name. So I wish the commissioner would act as swiftly and decisively in changing the name of the D.C. team as he did about not enough air in a football."

On Monday, the NFL announced a four-game suspension for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady after a three-month investigation concluded the QB was "generally aware" team personnel tampered with footballs. Brady was not accused of meddling with game balls himself; the report said only that it was "more probable than not" two staff members did the dirty work. Jon Terbush

February 1, 2015

Deflategate may have been a bunch of hot air. 

The NFL's investigation into the New England Patriots' alleged ball tampering has determined that the footballs used in last month's AFC Championship were not as underinflated as previously believed, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport. Though previous reports said 11 of 12 footballs were each underinflated by two pounds per square inch, the league actually found many to be only "a few ticks" under the minimum allowable PSI; only one was two pounds under the limit.

The Patriots denied tampering with the balls in any way, and team owner Robert Kraft demanded an apology from the NFL should it find no evidence of wrongdoing. Jon Terbush

January 30, 2015

Lots of people take responsibility for crimes they didn't commit, Jimmy Kimmel said on Thursday night's Jimmy Kimmel Live, citing the Lindbergh baby kidnapping as an example. The same holds true of (much) lesser crimes, like the Patriots' (alleged) deflating of their game footballs in the AFC championship game. That's the setup for a bunch of Patriots fans (with strong Boston accents) pleading guilty to deflating the balls of their idol, quarterback Tom Brady — without his knowledge, of course. You'll recognize a lot of the personalities (we'll list them below the video). And yes, the Kimmel–Matt Damon feud lives on.

(Along with Damon, watch for Ben Affleck, John Krasinski, Steven Tyler, Chris Evans, Eli Roth, Dicky Barrett, and Bill Simmons.) Peter Weber

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