Tom Brady's four-game suspension for the DeflateGate scandal was upheld by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, in part because Brady deliberately destroyed his cell phone, in spite of the fact that the NFL's investigation had requested the phone.
From the NFL's official statement:
On or shortly before March 6, the day that Tom Brady met with independent investigator Ted Wells and his colleagues, Brady directed that the cell phone he had used for the prior four months be destroyed. He did so even though he was aware that the investigators had requested access to text messages and other electronic information that had been stored on that phone. During the four months that the cell phone was in use, Brady had exchanged nearly 10,000 text messages, none of which can now be retrieved from that device. The destruction of the cell phone was not disclosed until June 18, almost four months after the investigators had first sought electronic information from Brady.
While destroying evidence isn't an admission of a guilt, it was probably a big red flag to Goodell. After all, the initial punishment handed out to Brady and the Patriots seemed to stem more from their failure to cooperate with the investigation than their actual breaking of the NFL's rules. However, Brady argued that he wasn't intentionally avoiding the league's investigation when he destroyed his phone: He just destroys his phone a lot:
Brady communicated to the commissioner that he routinely destroys his phone for security reasons.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) July 28, 2015
Apparently Goodell didn't buy this or didn't care.
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