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Destroyed Cell Phone Serves As Basis For NFL's Decision On Brady Suspension

BOSTON (CBS) -- For months, Patriots fans and sports pundits have argued whether or not it really mattered that Tom Brady didn't turn over his cellphone during Ted Wells' DeflateGate investigation.

As it turns out, it's the reason Brady still faces a four-game suspension to start the 2015 season.

Despite a 10-hour appeal by Brady and his team of lawyers last month, the NFL upheld the quarterback's four-game ban on Tuesday. The league cited Brady's unwillingness to turn over his cellphone, and then destroying the phone in question, during the DeflateGate investigation as the reason the hefty suspension stuck.

It was widely dismissed that Brady destroyed his phone when ESPN's Stephen A. Smith initially reported it early Tuesday, but it turns out that's a fairly common practice for the QB. But the NFL didn't buy that explanation, and upheld his four-game ban.

The NFL released the following statement regarding their decision:

In the opinion informing Brady that his appeal had been denied, Commissioner Goodell emphasized important new information disclosed by Brady and his representatives in connection with the hearing.

On or shortly before March 6, the day that Tom Brady met with independent investigator Ted Wells and his colleagues, Brady directed that the cell phone he had used for the prior four months be destroyed. He did so even though he was aware that the investigators had requested access to text messages and other electronic information that had been stored on that phone. ‎During the four months that the cell phone was in use, Brady had exchanged nearly 10,000 text messages, none of which can now be retrieved from that device. The destruction of the cell phone was not disclosed until June 18, almost four months after the investigators had first sought electronic information from Brady. 

Based on the Wells Report and the evidence presented at the hearing, Commissioner Goodell concluded in his decision that Brady was aware of, and took steps to support‎, the actions of other team employees to deflate game footballs below the levels called for by the NFL's Official Playing Rules. The commissioner found that Brady's deliberate destruction of potentially relevant evidence went beyond a mere failure to cooperate in the investigation and supported a finding that he had sought to hide evidence of his own participation in the underlying scheme to alter the footballs. 

Click here to read the NFL's full 20-page release regarding the league's decision to uphold Brady's suspension.

Now that this shoe has dropped, we wait to see if Brady and his team of lawyers take the case to Federal court.


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