At this point, you might think it’s a foregone conclusion that Tom Brady will be suspended, especially after the Wells Report was released last week.
Well, maybe, maybe not.
“I can’t bank on anything at this point,” CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “Depending on who you talk to – I talked to some pretty powerful executives with other teams – some guessed maybe two games, but that’s just a guess. I talked to some people who had been pretty high-ranking officials in the league office recently, and they wonder if it’s not eight to ten (games) because of the league wanting to send a signal that, ‘Hey, we’re not going to take it easy on Bob Kraft just because he’s a big, bad, powerful owner.’”
That’s certainly possible. The problem for the league, however, is lack of definitive proof. La Canfora has read the Wells Report several times, and he still isn’t sure what to make of it.
“I don’t know, guys,” La Canfora said. “They still don’t have Tom Brady telling anyone – whether electronically or verbally or whatever – ‘Hey, do this.’ They can’t prove unequivocally that Brady knew exactly what these guys were doing and when they were doing it and whether they were doing it illegally or not. They don’t have Brady telling anybody he wants (the footballs) below 12.5. The gauges themselves – there’s two different gauges they used that game day. It’s very unclear exactly which one was more accurate than the other.
“And the great reality is, if this was such an affront to the game – if this was such an atrocity – why . . . did the league let it happen? They let it happen. Now people are saying suspend Brady for half the season. Really?”
Brandon Tierney believes Brady will be suspended for the simple reason that he did not cooperate fully with Ted Wells’ investigation.
“It’s open to interpretation,” La Canfora said. “His agent said, ‘Look, we made him available. He answered a ton of questions.’ They didn’t include 95 percent of what he said in the report. And yeah, he wouldn’t turn over his cell phone, but they don’t have subpoena power. It’s not a court of law.”
As La Canfora explained, is Brady required to give in every time Big Brother taps on his shoulder and wants something? In a word, no. Brady probably knew what he was doing in stonewalling Wells and playing dumb with reporters. It was a calculated move – and it just might pay off.
“The last few times the NFL has come super hard – like the Bounty case – they ended up having to walk a whole lot of that back,” La Canfora said. “So I have to think that’s resonating with them as well here. I don’t know, guys. I don’t know. I do know that it seems like Tom Brady and Bob Kraft are ready to fight this thing if they have to.”
Asked how many games Brady will be suspended – based on knowledge of the situation and gut feel – La Canfora said it can’t be “more than a couple.”
“I’m saying that knowing I could be completely wrong,” La Canfora said. “I mean, no one knows. The league (itself) doesn’t know – and there’s different factions within the league who I think would probably go in different directions. I don’t think it can be as Draconian as some have said just because the report itself. It’s a lot of you connecting your own dots. The smoking guns and that kind of stuff isn’t there. Even the scientific element to it isn’t completely explained. And for what the allegations are and as strong as they are and for a game of that magnitude . . . (this could have been prevented by the league. If the league had taken action) . . . boom, it never happens.”