Tom Brady's father rallied to the defense of his Super Bowl-winning son Wednesday in the wake of the release of the NFL Deflategate report that showed that Patriots employees probably deflated footballs used in the AFC Championship Game.
Tom Brady Sr. told USA Today that his son's character and reputation are above reproach despite the report's conclusion that the Patriots quarterback "was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities" involving the release of air from the Patriots' footballs.
"I don't have any doubt about my son's integrity -- not one bit," Brady Sr. told the paper. "In this country, you're innocent until proven guilty. It just seems Tommy is now guilty until proven innocent."
Brady Sr. was at pains to underline that the NFL was more concerned about pointing fingers and protecting its image, rather than any concern about the three-time Super Bowl MVP.
"The league had to cover themselves," Brady Sr. said. "The reality is they had no conclusive evidence.
"This was Framegate right from the beginning."
Brady said specifically in January he prefers footballs inflated to 12.5 pounds per square inch. On many occasions, Brady said he never asked for balls to be deflated outside of the rules.
But the NFL report concluded "it was more probable than not" that Jim McNally, the officials' locker room attendant, and John Jastremski, an equipment assistant for the Patriots, were involved in "a deliberate effort to release air" from the footballs in the moments before kickoff of the AFC title game -- and after they were examined by the referee.
The report also includes text messages between McNally and Jastremski that imply Brady was requesting footballs deflated below 12.5 pounds per square inch. They also imply that Brady had previously been upset with the quality of the game balls.
"They had to protect their asses, and that's what they're doing," Brady Sr. said. "I just read that four Colts balls were underinflated. Amazing. Amazing.
"To impugn somebody without conclusive evidence saying this is more probable than not? The reality is they have scientific evidence," he added. "Now they're overriding the scientific evidence and badgering the Patriots. It's disgusting."
Tom Brady has yet to comment but is scheduled to speak to students Thursday night at a sold-out event at Salem State University in Massachusetts.