Don Yee, the agent for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, said in a statement Thursday that the findings of the Wells report "contains significant and tragic flaws" and "is a significant and terrible disappointment."
The NFL has found that it is probable that Patriots personnel deliberately deflated balls during the AFC Championship Game in January and that Brady was probably "at least generally aware" of the rules violations.
The findings were released Wednesday in a 243-page report by Ted Wells, the league-appointed attorney who investigated whether the Patriots deflated balls in their game against the Indianapolis Colts.
"It's omission of key facts and lines of inquiry suggest the investigators reached a conclusion first, and then determined so-called facts later," Yee said in his statement. "One item alone taints this entire report. What does it say about the league office's protocols and ethics when it allows one team to tip it off to an issue prior to a championship game, and no league officials or game officials notified the Patriots of the same issue prior to the game? This suggests it may be more probable than not that the league cooperated with the Colts in perpetrating a sting operation."
The Wells report cites evidence that Jim McNally, the officials' locker room attendant for the Patriots, took the game balls into a bathroom adjacent to the field at Gillette Stadium and stayed there for about 100 seconds -- "an amount of time sufficient to deflate thirteen footballs using a needle.''
Other evidence included referee Walt Anderson's inability to locate the previously approved footballs at the start of the game -- the first time that had happened to him in 19 years.
The NFL is considering discipline for Brady, McNally and Patriots equipment assistant John Jastremski, a source close to the investigation told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Discipline is "days" away, the source said.
"This was not an independent investigation and the contents of the report bear that out -- all one has to do is read closely and critically, as opposed to simply reading headlines," Yee said. "The investigators' assumptions and inferences are easily debunked or subject to multiple interpretations. ...
"It is a sad day for the league as it has abdicated the resolution of football-specific issues to people who don't understand the context or culture of the sport."
The Wells report includes salty text messages between McNally and Jastremski -- sent in October and January -- that imply Brady was requesting footballs deflated below the minimum of 12.5 pounds per square inch. They also imply that Brady had previously been upset with the quality of the game balls.
Yee said that he was present for Brady's interview with the NFL, during which his client "patiently answered every question" but that the "investigators had limited understanding of professional football."
Yee also was baffled as to why the final report "omitted nearly all of Tom's testimony, most of which was critical because it would have provided this report with the context that it lacks. ...
"This report contains significant and tragic flaws."