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Roger Goodell Speaks on Deflategate Process in Exclusive Interview with 'Today'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistSeptember 11, 2016

FILE - In this May 24, 2016, file photo, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell answers reporter's questions at an NFL owner's meeting in Charlotte N.C.  Goodell disagrees with Colin Kaepernick's choice to kneel during the national anthem, but recognizes the quarterback's right to protest. Asked by The Associated Press about Kaepernick's decision not to stand before games when the national anthem is played, Goodell says:
Bob Leverone/Associated Press

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told Today's Matt Lauer in an interview Sunday morning that he was 100 percent certain he and the league handled the Deflategate saga and Tom Brady's corresponding suspension correctly.

He made the following comments on Deflategate, which can be heard in the video starting at the 2:20 mark:

We went through a very exhausting process with this. We had an independent investigation. We had a federal judge who ruled against it. It went to an appellate court. The appellate court at that point in time said, "Listen, there is compelling if not overwhelming evidence here."

There is absolutely no question that the destruction of evidence should be considered by the commissioner in the context of this. And the process was properly followed. We collectively bargained a process for discipline, we went through that—and I can't think of an issue that has been more litigated.

Lauer also asked Goodell if he felt four games was an appropriate suspension for Brady, whom Lauer called one of the "legends of the game."

"Every player, every team, is subject to the same rules," Goodell countered. "We don't have rules for marquee players, we don't have rules for marquee teams."

Brady, 39, was suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season for his role in Deflategate, a suspension he accepted in July after a lengthy appeals process that was potentially one step away from the Supreme Court.

Deflategate remains controversial despite Brady's accepting his suspension, however, with many feeling the league office handled the situation incorrectly.

On Sunday, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk broke down 10 issues he had with the NFL's treatment of the ordeal, stating the league misinterpreted the Ideal Gas Law, had two pressure gauges that "were badly out of sync" and that independent investigator Ted Wells never secured an admission of guilt from John Jastremski and Jim McNally—the two men who reportedly deflated the footballs for Brady—among other issues.

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