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Questions remain in the NFL’s suspension of Pats’ quarterback Tom Brady

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The commercial is coming soon.

Tom Brady will walk into a cell phone store, and he will pick up a new model, and he’ll say “Can it be destroyed easily?” Maybe he’ll add “How long does it store messages?” And, finally, he’ll ask “Is it shock-proof? Waterproof? Commissioner-proof?”

In a case that was once about air, we are down to a discussion of cell phones and air time. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made sure of that when he upheld Brady’s suspension by saying “He destroyed his cell phone.”

Just like that, he might as well have re-accused Brady of being a cheat, of someone who would willfully wreck a relatively new phone (four months) to get out of punishment.

Brady and the NFLPA immediately filed with a Minnesota court to have the suspension reduced. Brady released a 507-word rebuttal on Facebook, saying “I have done nothing wrong.”

The NFLPA says it will file an injunction to allow Brady to play until his case is heard.

There are unanswered questions, of course.

Donald Yee, Brady’s attorney, says the league already had details of Brady’s phone communication, and that was merely recycling his phone to get a new iPhone 6. Did the NFL have the information, and if so, was it complete?

Why would Brady have to turn over his phone to the league, anyway? The NFL does not have subpoena power. Could your employer demand your phone to search your texts?

Is being “generally aware” as the Wells investigation suggests the same thing as guilt?

Wouldn’t Brady have been better off to simply refuse to provide his phone on principle rather than to destroy it?

If Brady was willing to comply, why didn’t he save the data card from his own cell phone since he knew Wells wanted it? Isn’t it convenient that he chose to change phones while the investigation was going on?

Will this ever get to trial? And if so, will the suspension be reduced?

Then there is this: How badly will Brady’s image be tarnished if the courts uphold that he was cheating? He has won four Super Bowl rings, and he is a certainty for the Hall of Fame. But Brady has always been the NFL’s boy scout. Will some fans start to look at him the way they do Bill Belichick, as a talented man who cut corners?

In other words, Deflategate isn’t over with yet.

Soon, you can call someone to talk about it.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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