Tom Brady must end the silent treatment and provide answers
No more silence. No more lawyer speak. No more statements from agents.
It's time to hear from Tom Brady.
In Tuesday's ruling that upheld the four-game suspension of the New England Patriots quarterback, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell absolutely decimated Brady's reputation — at least as it pertained to the Deflategate case. Brady went from having the benefit of the doubt in the public's eye, especially since Goodell had taken five weeks to render a decision, to being viewed by many as a nervous, clumsy, guilty offender.
All it took was Goodell's revealing Brady destroyed his cell phone like he's Walter White.
It's actually not hard to believe a premier NFL player who is married to a supermodel and goes to great lengths to protect the privacy of his children wouldn't just hand his phone to a mobile-phone company employee behind a counter when he gets a new one. There's information on the phone Brady and Giselle would obviously prefer remained private. In this day and age, that kind of information can often be accessed from a device that's still functional when it's discarded.
The problem is the inconsistency. According to Goodell's ruling, Brady destroyed the phone on or near the date of his meeting with investigator Ted Wells in early March. Goodell also notes the NFL Players Association brought in an expert to review a phone Brady used until November. If that phone still exists, Goodell surmises, there's no reason why the one with the potentially pertinent texts would be in pieces.
Brady's agent, Don Yee, in his statement after Tuesday's ruling, alluded to "electronic information" Brady's camp provided Goodell during the appeal hearing. Yee stated the "extent to which Tom opened up his private life to the Commissioner will become clear in the coming days."
Hopefully by Brady himself, even though he isn't listed in the media availability for the first five days of Patriots training camp.
Sources have told FOX Sports Brady commanded his camp and the NFLPA early in the appeal process to say as little as possible publicly about the case. Brady has always been a private guy and has played his entire career for a coach who guards most information regarding his team as closely as his playbooks, so it's not surprising he wanted to play his cards close to the vest.
Brady barely spoke about the situation at a May 11 appearance with Jim Gray at Salem State. He didn't address reporters at his Best Buddies charity event later that month. And in June, on his way into the NFL offices, he smiled for cameras but didn't utter a word then slipped out a side door on his way out of the building to escape the media. The silence was Brady's way of not doing anything that might irk Goodell as he pondered Brady's fate.
But that's over now. Playing nice publicly got Brady nowhere. And from a perception standpoint, he took a step backward. The longer he goes now without addressing the destruction of the phone, the more it appears he definitely had something to hide.
Now that the case is headed to court, Brady might continue the silent treatment. There's an ongoing legal case and he can hide behind that.
But he really shouldn't. Not after the damning arguments Goodell made to support the initial suspension and uphold it. Heck, Goodell's phrasing in saying he didn't know Brady had destroyed the phone when the suspension was initially levied made it seem like Goodell wishes the suspension was even longer than the four games Troy Vincent initially levied.
No, Goodell has said plenty. So has Yee. And so has the NFLPA. It's time to hear from Brady, to get some answers about the evidence that was used against him and to learn why in the world he got rid of one phone at a very intriguing time but kept another from months prior.
There are lots of questions but very few answers. It's time some are provided, and for Brady to be the one who does so.