In the aftermath of the Wells report and the league's announcement of quarterback Tom Brady's subsequent four-game suspension (pending appeal) and the New England Patriots' fine of $1 million and loss of a first-round pick in 2016 and a fourth-round pick in 2017, per Greg Botelho and Mariano Castillo of CNN.com, the man who ran the investigation, Ted Wells, commented Tuesday on all things Deflategate.
He first addressed one of his primary detractors, Brady's agent Don Yee, who noted in a statement that "there was no fairness in the Wells investigation whatsoever," calling the findings "pre-determined." Yee said that he felt that after the appeal process for his client, "the Wells Report will be exposed as an incredibly frail exercise in fact-finding and logic," per Nate Davis of USA Today.
Per Andrew Brandt of ESPN, Wells defended himself against such claims:
He also disputed any notion that he was somehow an extension of the NFL league office or its lap dog, per Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post:
Wells suggested Yee's critiques were based solely on his frustrations with the findings and not the actual process, per Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal:
He reinforced that point, per Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports:
Yee took issue with certain aspects of the investigation going unmentioned in the Wells report, as he said in this excerpt of a statement, per Garafolo:
I have verbatim notes of the interview. Tom made himself available for nearly an entire day and patiently answered every question. It was clear to me the investigators had limited understanding of professional football. For reasons unknown, the Wells report omitted nearly all of Tom’s testimony, most of which was critical because it would have provided this report with the context that it lacks.
Wells replied to that claim as well, per Jane McManus of ESPN.com:
Wells then spoke about the origin of the claims against the Patriots and the response from the league office, amid criticisms that the NFL and the Indianapolis Colts ran some sort of sting operation against the Patriots, per Daniel Kaplan of the SportsBusiness Journal:
He also described New England's response to not learning of the accusations before the AFC Championship Game, per Daniels:
Finally, he flat-out dismissed any notion of some sort of conspiracy against the Patriots, per Christopher Price of WEEI:
Wells then turned to the investigation itself and the primary people he sought out to compile his findings, namely New England officials locker room attendant Jim McNally, per Rachel Nichols of CNN:
He also spoke about his requests for Brady's cell phone and the quarterback's refusal to hand it over, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com:
He added, per Price:
Interestingly, Wells didn't need Brady's phone, just printouts of his texts, a fact Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report thought was very relevant:
That lack of transparency from both Brady and the Patriots was "disappointing" to Wells, per Tom E. Curran of Comcast SportsNet New England:
But Wells was adamant that the evidence he did compile, namely the text messages, was more than enough to implicate Brady in wrongdoing, per Nichols:
He also disputed that the evidence he had against Brady wasn't sufficient, per Albert Breer of NFL.com:
He added, per Michele Steele of ESPN:
Wells also spoke of the gauges used to test the pressure, per Rapoport:
Finally, he addressed the cost of this report to the NFL, per Hubbuch:
It's no surprise that every party involved in Deflategate has rushed to defend itself. Yee has his client's integrity to defend. Wells has the integrity of his report to defend. The league office has the integrity of the game and its process for doling out justice to defend. The Patriots have the integrity of how they run their team—especially in the wake of winning another Super Bowl amid a cheating scandal—to defend.
It's a lot of defending, and it's unlikely to be fully settled until Brady's appeal is heard and decided upon. Deflategate is far from being over with, in other words.