Brady blasts NFL 'Deflategate' suspension, denies wrongdoing

Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:01pm EDT
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By Steve Ginsburg

(Reuters) - New England Patriots football star Tom Brady denied on Wednesday he had destroyed his cell phone to avoid giving it to NFL investigators, saying the flap was "manufactured" to distract from "zero evidence" against him in the "Deflategate" scandal.

Brady issued his statement a day after National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld a four-game suspension of the quarterback for his part in an alleged scheme to deflate footballs below league standards in the game that put the Patriots in the 2015 Super Bowl.

Many NFL quarterbacks, including Brady, prefer softer game balls because they are easier to grip in cold weather.

"I am very disappointed by the NFL’s decision to uphold the four-game suspension against me," Brady said in a statement posted on his Facebook page. "I did nothing wrong, and no one in the Patriots organization did either."

Patriots owner Robert Kraft threw his support behind his player, considered one of the NFL's all-time greats.

"I was wrong to put my faith in the league," Kraft said in blasting Goodell for upholding the suspension. "I continue to believe and unequivocally support Tom Brady."

Goodell on Tuesday said Brady, one of the league's most popular and highest paid players, admitted during an appeal hearing last month that he directed an assistant to destroy his cell phone around March 6. That was the day he was due to meet with league investigators.

The commissioner said Brady's conduct suggested he was attempting to conceal evidence.   Continued...

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady walks to the sidelines after throwing an interception in the first quarter against the Seattle Seahawks during the NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game in Glendale, Arizona, in this February 1, 2015 file photo. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/Files