The NFL, the New England Patriots and Ted Wells have all issued statements as the league continues to investigate the cause of the Deflategate controversy.
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Ted Wells Issues Statement
Monday, Jan. 26
Lawyer Ted Wells, who has been hired by the NFL to investigate if the Patriots knowingly used deflated balls in the AFC Championship game victory over Indianapolis, issued a statement today via Gary Myers of the New York Daily News:
NFL, Patriots Issue Statements
Friday, Jan. 23
While the exact details of what happened with the New England Patriots and the deflated balls used in the AFC Championship Game remain unclear, the Patriots and NFL have issued statements on the investigation into the controversy.
Starting with the NFL, the statement from the communications website is a by-the-numbers account of what's been happening since the AFC Championship Game:
Our office has been conducting an investigation as to whether the footballs used in last Sunday’s AFC Championship Game complied with the specifications that are set forth in the playing rules. The investigation began based on information that suggested that the game balls used by the New England Patriots were not properly inflated to levels required by the playing rules, specifically Playing Rule 2, Section 1, which requires that the ball be inflated to between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch. Prior to the game, the game officials inspect the footballs to be used by each team and confirm that this standard is satisfied, which was done before last Sunday’s game.
Doug Kyed of NESN.com released a statement from the Patriots and owner Robert Kraft that goes through the process of how the investigation started and what's happened in the days since it was first brought to their attention:
On Monday, I received a letter from the league office informing me that they would be conducting an investigation into the air pressure of the game balls. Immediately after receiving the letter, I instructed our staff to be completely cooperative and transparent with the league’s investigators. During the three days they were here, we provided access to every full- and part-time employee the league’s representatives requested to speak with and produced every communication device that they requested to search. It is an ongoing process that the league and our team are taking very seriously.
I very much support the league’s desire to conduct a complete investigation and welcome the appointment of Ted Wells to lead the process. Competitive balance and the integrity of the game are the foundation of what makes our league so special and I have the utmost respect for those principles. Our organization will continue to cooperate throughout the league’s investigation. Meanwhile, our players, coaches and staff will continue to focus on our preparations for Super Bowl XLIX and the many challenges we face as we prepare for the Seattle Seahawks.
It's uncertain at this time what the potential punishment for the Patriots would be if they are found guilty of manipulating the footballs. It's also not clear what the NFL's timetable for issuing a punishment will be, though something would likely have to happen soon if it involves the Super Bowl.
NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent said during a January 20 interview on PFT Live, via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com, that the investigation would hopefully be wrapped up "in the next two or three days."
When the Spygate incident happened in 2007, the NFL fined head coach Bill Belichick $500,000 and the Patriots $250,000, and it stripped the team of a draft pick. Because of that past incident, the NFL may look to come down even harder on the franchise.
Adam Lefkoe and Shalise Manza Young of The Boston Globe discuss reaction to Deflategate in the video below:
The Patriots are certainly no strangers to controversy, yet they are one of the few franchises in all of sports that seem to rally when everyone is against them. There is still going to be a lot of discussion about this topic with Super Bowl Media Day on January 27, so don't expect Deflategate to go away any time soon.