NFL report is too easy on Patriot cheaters

Story highlights

  • Mel Robbins: Report found irrefutable evidence the footballs were intentionally deflated, but soft-pedaled its findings
  • She says it's clear that Patriots' employees, including Tom Brady, were in on it

Mel Robbins is a CNN commentator, legal analyst, best-selling author and keynote speaker. In 2014, she was named outstanding news talk-radio host by the Gracie Awards. Follow her @melrobbins. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)The Wells Report got it wrong.

After nearly four months of investigations, the report finds it "more probable than not" that the New England Patriots deliberately deflated the balls in the AFC championship game and that star quarterback Tom Brady was "generally aware" of the cheating.
The Wells Report is wrong because it didn't go far enough. It should have said: We have irrefutable evidence, detailed in a 68 page scientific exhibit with two appendixes, that proves the Patriots deflated the balls and cheated on purpose. ​
    Mel Robbins
    This is no cream puff report, this is a relentless and detailed indictment of the conduct of Patriots locker room attendant Jim McNally, equipment assistant John Jastremski and Brady. McNally refers to himself as the "deflator," for crying out loud. Jastremski is clearly the fixer -- supplying the needles to McNally, as well as shoes, signed game balls and other "big autograph day" items as a reward.
    Just turn to page 114. You'll see the conclusions of Exponent, an independent firm that was hired to test the Patriots "ideal gas law" defense. The "ideal gas law" defense was the theory that coach Bill Belichick floated in his impromptu press conference after the allegations arose -- as an explanation for why the Patriots' balls deflated magically on their own -- a change in temperature, essentially. The only problem with that theory? Science. At the end of the Wells Report it tackles Belichick's "ideal gas law" -- head on:
    "There is only a .4% likelihood -- a fraction of 1% -- that the difference in average pressure between the teams occurred by chance."
    Conclusion: The "ideal gas law" doesn't apply here because the only reasonable inference is that human beings did this -- two of them, named McNally and Jastremski. And these two were busy texting and laughing about the cheating.
    The report notes that in the weeks and months before the AFC championship game, the two exchanged many text messages.
    "In a number of those text messages, McNally and Jastremski discussed the air pressure of Patriots game balls, Tom Brady's unhappiness with the inflation level of Patriots game balls, Jastremski's plan to provide McNally with a 'needle' for use by McNally, and McNally's requests for 'cash' and sneakers together with the 'needle' to be provided by Jastremski."
    Here's one excerpt from their conversation:
    Jastremski: I have a big needle for you this week
    McNally: Better be surrounded by as and new kicks....or its a rugby sunday
    McNally: F--k tom
    Jastremski: Maybe u will have some nice size 11s in ur locker
    McNally: Tom must really be working your balls hard this week.
    And, then there's the other question: Was Brady involved in the cheating? He has denied knowing of any wrongdoing. But the answer is: Of course he was involved.
    The Wells Report may use legalese that sounds like "probable cause" but make no mistake, this is not a criminal matter in a court of law. Different rules apply in business. Don't buy Patriots owner Robert Kraft's statement: "To say we are disappointed in its findings, which do not include any incontrovertible or hard evidence of deliberate deflation of footballs at the AFC championship game, would be a gross understatement."
    Look at the facts, because this is a court of common sense.
    Use yours and tell me what you think about the other damning information in the report. Turn to pages 101-110.
    After the Indianapolis Colts playoff game, Brady's phone activity with Jastremski suddently picks up after the allegations of deflated balls. For three mornings in a row, the star quarterback was on the phone with an equipment assistant for over 55 minutes before Jastremski turned his phone over for the investigation.
    - Two calls for a total 25 minutes and 2 seconds on January 19
    - Two calls for almost 10 minutes on January 20
    - Two calls for 20 minutes on January 21
    There's no recording of those phone conversations but we do have a dozen texts Brady sent to an equipment assistant -- "You good Johnny boy?" and "FYI ... Dave will be picking your brain later about it. He's not accusing me, or anyone ... trying to get to the bottom of it. He knows it's unrealistic you did it yourself. ..."
    We live in a moment in time where some of the greats have also turned out to be great at cheating -- Lance Armstrong and A-Rod come to mind. And while sticking a needle into a football isn't as morally offensive as sticking a needle in your arm to juice your performance, it's still cheating.
    The Wells Report got the conclusion wrong. It's not "likely" that the Patriots cheated. There is irrefutable evidence that they cheated and Tom Brady was in on it.
    You and I know damn well what happened and so does NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. This time, I hope he doesn't need to see videotape of it before he does the right thing.