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Tom Brady: Why I had 'Deflate-gate' mobile phone destroyed

FOXBOROUGH, MA - JUNE 4: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots, jogs during organized team activities at Gillette Stadium on June 4, 2015 in Foxborough
Image: Tom Brady of the New England Patriots

Tom Brady says he had the mobile phone at the centre of the ‘Deflate-gate’ scandal destroyed to protect personal data – not because he had anything to hide.

Brady swore under oath at his appeal hearing against his four-game ban that he did not have any part in having balls deliberately deflated in order to make them easier to grip.

A transcript of his appeal hearing was released by the NFL Players Association on Tuesday.

The NFL cited Brady destroying his phone as a key reason for rejecting his appeal against the ban.

But Brady insisted that he routinely destroyed phones in order to protect family photographs and other personal data.

"In the history of my career I never thought about the inflation level of a ball," Brady said, adding that he picked the ones he wanted by "feel."

"The irony of everything is I don't even squeeze a football. I grip the ball as loosely as possible. I'm just gripping it like a golf club."

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NFL attorneys were concerned about multiple calls between Brady and the Patriots worker who provided the balls - calls Brady could not explain - that came as the "Deflate-gate" scandal was growing.

"I don't remember exactly what we talked about…" Brady said. "I was trying to make sure he was composed so he could do his job over the course of the next two weeks."

Brady said he was told by attorneys on February 28 that investigators wanted texts and e-mails he had received and sent - but they advised him not to hand over his phone.

Roger Goodell: The NFL Commissioner's reputation is under fire after he upheld Tom Brady's four-game ban.
Image: Roger Goodell: The NFL Commissioner upheld Tom Brady's four-game ban.

"I was relying on the advice of my lawyers," Brady said. "What they basically said: we don't think it's proper for you to turn your phone over, so you don't need to do that."

Brady said he has routinely given mobile phones to an assistant to be destroyed, in part because of photos and NFL and endorsement contracts that would be stored in them.

"I don't want anybody ever to see the contents of the phone," Brady said. "I've always told the guy who swaps them out for me to make sure you get rid of the phone. What I mean is destroy the phone."

In upholding the suspension, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell cited in part Brady's decision to get rid of the phone on the same day he was interviewed by Ted Wells, a prominent attorney hired by the NFL to probe the scandal.

During the 10-hour hearing, Brady said no one told him that failing to hand over evidence would result in discipline.

The two sides are now expected to appear in court on August 12 before District Judge Richard Berman.

Both the NFL and the union have asked Berman to decide whether to uphold the suspension by September 4, six days before the season begins.

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