(NEW YORK) — A report released on Wednesday by the independent attorney hired by the NFL concludes “it’s more probable than not” that New England Patriots personnel “participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots games balls after the balls were examined by the referee.”
The investigation, led by attorney Ted Wells, stated it “is more than probable” that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady “was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities” involving the release of air from the Patriots’ footballs. But the report said there was no deliberate attempt by the Patriots to introduce a non-approved kicking ball during the AFC Championship game against the Indiana Colts on Jan. 18.
The Patriots won 45-7, then went on to win the Super Bowl on Feb. 1 against the Seattle Seahawks.
The report names Jim McNally, the Patriots’ locker room attendant, and John Jastremski, a Patriots equipment assistant, as having “participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots game balls after the balls were examined by the referee.”
Patriots CEO Robert Kraft said in a statement, “To say we are disappointed in its findings, which do not include any incontrovertible or hard evidence of deliberate deflation of footballs at the AFC Championship Game, would be a gross understatement. In addition, given our level of cooperation throughout the process, I was offended by the comments made in the Wells Report in reference to not making an individual available for a follow-up interview. What the report fails to mention is that he had already been interviewed four times and we felt the fifth request for access was excessive for a part-time game day employee who has a full-time job with another employer.”
He added: “While I respect the independent process of the investigation, the time, effort and resources expended to reach this conclusion are incomprehensible to me.”
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