Tom Brady’s recent denial statement on Facebook leaves us less than satisfied about what really happened in the Deflategate controversy. Here, in context and in italics underlined, are his relevant “denial” statements:
“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 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.”
The phrase, “I did nothing wrong,” is full of wiggle, a word I’ve earlier defined in my book “Getting the Truth,” as “Wiggle words are words that someone can interpret their own way to gain an advantage.” What does Brady mean when he uses the word “wrong.” That’s really what Deflategate is all about. As I stated in my original “Deflategate” article, “Is it "intentionally breaking the rules," if the rules are never enforced? QB’s are able to massage, brush, scratch, condition, and otherwise manipulate the balls to their liking. While those actions are apparently within the rules, it seems only a slight extension to think a 1 or 2 less psi is OK too.” So, if the balls were deflated, is that “wrong?” “Wrong,” after all, is subjective – it’s in the eyes of the beholder.
The second “denial” was, “The fact is that neither I, nor any equipment person, did anything of which we have been accused.” Again, there is wiggle. What is a fact? A fact is something that is indisputable. My first reaction is how can Brady say for a fact that equipment persons did not tamper with the footballs? He cannot. He couldn’t watch them 24/7. He can only speak for himself. So, his use of “fact” in this statement is weak. A better denial would have been, “I did not do anything of which I have been accused.” That would be more simple, more precise, and much more believable.
So, we are left again with a weak denial. And, as I’ve stated before: weak denials can be construed as evidence of guilt. Let’s look at another Brady response revealed in a transcript of an interview with Bob Costas on February 1, 2015:
Costas: Another question frequently asked, whether it be an equipment guy, a ball boy — whatever — hard to believe that that person wouldn‟t deflate the ball beneath 12.5, the minimum allowable, without at least having the notion that that‟s how Tom Brady wants it, whether you told him that or not. Is that a fair assumption?
Brady: Absolutely, I think that‟s — absolutely — you know, I could understand why people feel that way. You know, there‟s an investigation going on. I‟m sure all the things will come out. It‟s been a lot of speculation. And I think that‟s what led to my hurt feelings. You know, hopefully the facts come out. And — you know, we understand that — you know, whatever happened, happened. And you know, it‟s not going to have an effect on this game. And you know, we can move forward.
Yet another opportunity to provide a good denial and he passed.