Ted Wells will forever be linked to deflate-gate, as the investigator who produced the report that ended up with the New England Patriots and Tom Brady being slammed with an enormous punishment.
It’s not the first time one of Wells’ reports has led to a player having his legacy and career affected. Richie Incognito knows all about it.
Incognito was the central figure in the Miami Dolphins’ bullying scandal of 2013. Incognito spent 2014 out of football, and it looked like his career was done until the Buffalo Bills gave him a second chance. And, from all accounts, Incognito is doing well there.
Bob Glauber of New York Newsday had a very good interview with Incognito, as the guard talked about getting his career back on track. Incognito also has unique perspective on what Brady is going through, and he offered his opinions on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Brady and Wells to Glauber.
“I just think it’s bogus, the whole system in how it’s set up with Roger and the complete, absolute power he has,” Incognito said. “He has so much power and he hires independent investigators who come in and are obviously not independent. They come in with an agenda and they come in looking to find facts to back up their argument. All the facts are slanted in their favor.
“Ted Wells came in with a mission against me,” he said. “Ted Wells came in slanted against me and everything in his report was slanted against me. There were some things in there that would have helped my cause that were left out.”
Incognito said that testimony from teammates was left out, and “You see that in Brady’s case. There’s a lot of stuff that got left out. There’s a lot of misinformation.”
For a while the NFL and Wells battled to convince folks that Wells was truly independent. Wells’ firm has worked with the NFL before. A member of Wells’ law firm sat acted as part of the NFL’s counsel at the appeal hearing. Wells wouldn’t give over certain documents to the NFLPA, citing attorney-client privilege. The NFL finally just admitted in court filings that it didn’t matter if the investigation was independent or not. Eventually even the NFL knows when it is insulting everyone’s intelligence.
So. no, Wells wasn’t independent at all. But it’s more than a bit troubling that Incognito believes “Ted Wells came in slanted against me” and that he was looking for facts to back up a conclusion that was already made. Because as reports and testimony are released, it’s easy to believe that’s what happened in the Brady case as well.
Incognito now is fighting against public perception against him (he did say about Goodell, “I think he’s doing a great job. I really do,” and cited his work making the game safer on the field). Brady will fight public perception against him, because the NFL has waged a tremendous public-relations battle against Brady. The fact that they focused on the unimportant tale of Brady destroying his cell phone and many people bought it exemplifies how hard they’ve battled to win over the public and sell out one of their greatest players, for whatever reason.
Incognito knows. Fair or not, deflate-gate and Wells’ non-independent work has changed Brady’s legacy forever.
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