by Kent Sterling
Attorneys are like magicians – everyone knows they are tricking us with sleight of speech and misdirection, but the good ones keep us guessing in wonderment.
Don Yee is Tom Brady’s agent, and yesterday he pulled back the curtain as he clumsily tried to pull a rabbit out of his transparent hat in casting the Indianapolis Colts and the NFL as the true villains in Deflategate.
For those who believe Brady’s ludicrous claims that he had no inkling that locker room attendants acted on their own accord when (if) they deflated game approved footballs to beneath the prescribed level of air pressure, Yee’s outrage was cheered. For those who assess logic before investing belief, they quickly saw through Yee’s awkward and emotional blather.
Yes wrote, “The Wells report, with all due respect, is a significant and terrible disappointment. It’s omission of key facts and lines of inquiry suggest the investigators reached a conclusion first, and then determined so-called facts later. One item alone taints this entire report. What does it say about the league office’s protocols and ethics when it allows one team to tip it off to an issue prior to a championship game, and no league officials or game officials notified the Patriots of the same issue prior to the game? This suggests it may be more probable than not that the league cooperated with the Colts in perpetrating a sting operation.
“The Wells report buries this issue in a footnote on page 46 without any further elaboration. The league is a significant client of the investigators’ law firm; it appears to be a rich source of billings and media exposure based on content in the law firm’s website. This was not an independent investigation and the contents of the report bear that out – all one has to do is read closely and critically, as opposed to simply reading headlines.
“The investigators’ assumptions and inferences are easily debunked or subject to multiple interpretations. Much of the report’s vulnerabilities are buried in the footnotes, which is a common legal writing tactic. It is a sad day for the league as it has abdicated the resolution of football-specific issues to people who don’t understand the context or culture of the sport.
“I was physically present for my client’s interview. I have verbatim notes of the interview. Tom made himself available for nearly an entire day and patiently answered every question. It was clear to me the investigators had limited understanding of professional football. For reasons unknown, the Wells report omitted nearly all of Tom’s testimony, most of which was critical because it would have provided this report with the context that it lacks. Mr. Wells promised back in January to share the results of this investigation publicly, so why not follow through and make public all of the information gathered and let the public draw its own conclusions?
“This report contains significant and tragic flaws, and it is common knowledge in the legal industry that reports like this generally are written for the benefit of the purchaser.”
Lots of garbled legalese and obfuscation, and no meaningful substance, and Yee’s defense of Brady not turning over his phone so texts could be recovered on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 featured more of the same.
To assert the Colts and NFL perpetrated a “sting operation” shows a severe aversion to the truth or exactly the kind of ignorance that Yee accuses the Wells team of investigators of displaying.
Opposing teams sit down with game officials prior to every game to discuss issues from unique formations they might feature to opponent tactics that may skirt the rules. The results of these discussions are never shared with the opposition.
After being so strident in dismissing the charges against him, Brady can hardly backtrack now, but Yee would have been better served by saying nothing rather than engaging in such a patently obvious effort to play a shell game with a hopefully not-so-easily duped media and fans.