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DeflateGate: NFL Hired Same Research Firm That Denied Secondhand Smoke Causes Cancer

BOSTON (CBS) -  On Wednesday, attorney Ted Wells finally released the findings of his investigation into under-inflated footballs used by the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game back in January.

The 138-page report concludes that some Patriots employees likely deflated footballs and quarterback Tom Brady may have known about it. His conclusion and investigation are backed up by testimony and scientific study, but the latter part of that sentence is starting to draw serious attention.

In an effort for transparency, one of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's favorite words, it's more likely than not a prudent exercise to raise questions about the way in which the DeflateGate investigation was handled.

Questions are being raised about Exponent, the California-based engineering firm employed by the NFL and Wells in the scientific part of their investigation.

A February 2010 article in the Los Angeles Times, which was brought to my attention on Twitter by  Rich Hill of Pats Pulpit, alleges that Exponent is a "hired gun" called upon by major corporations to "weather messy disputes."

The article also states that Exponent's scientific standards are right to be criticized.

"But Exponent's research has come under fire from critics, including engineers, attorneys and academics who say the company tends to deliver to clients the reports they need to mount a public defense."

Exponent has represented many major high-profile companies, including Toyota, Ford, Suzuki, Exxon and others. Often times, according to the article, Exponent reaches questionable conclusions based on their allegiances.

"[In May 2009], the Amazon Defense Coalition alleged that an Exponent study finding that dumping oil waste in the Ecuadorean rain forest did not increase cancer rates was tainted because the firm's largest shareholder was a member of the board of Chevron Corp., which commissioned the study."

But that's not all, either.

In fact, Exponent once argued for Big Tobacco that secondhand smoke does not lead to cancer, which we now know is false.

"Stanton Glantz, [is] a cardiologist at UC San Francisco who runs a database on the tobacco industry that contains thousands of pages of Exponent research arguing, among other things, that secondhand smoke does not cause cancer."

Does this article change the way you feel about Ted Wells' findings?

Read more from Andrew Celani by clicking here, or find him on Twitter @CelaniSays!

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