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DeflateGate investigation 'delivered exactly what the client wanted,' says NFLPA

The executive director of the NFLPA questions the independence of the Wells Report.

The New England Patriots have given up their fight against the NFL's punishment of DeflateGate, but NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith continues to press onward. During an interview on ESPN's Outside the Lines, Smith called into question the credibility of the league's lead investigator, Ted Wells, and the findings in his report that led to Tom Brady's suspension and the punishment for the Patriots.

Following the release of the Wells Report, the league suspended Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for four games without pay. The NFL also docked the team a first- and fourth-round pick and issued a $1 million fine. Brady has since appealed the suspension through the NFLPA.

As head of the players union, Smith sees the investigation that led to Brady's suspension as critically flawed.

"You can't really have credibility just because you slap the word 'independent' on a piece of paper," Smith said. "I think the Wells Report delivered exactly what the client wanted."

The client, of course, is the NFL, the league that paid Wells' firm over $45 million to investigate the deflated football allegations in New England, as well as the bullying scandal that occurred in Miami during the 2013 season.

Smith also noted that the NFL has acted inconsistently in regard to discipline, citing Jim Irsay, Jimmy Haslam and the Wilf family as examples of owners who broke rules but received little to no punishment from the league.

Under the collective bargaining agreement, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell can insert himself as arbitrator despite his role in determining the original punishment. Goodell officially declined to recuse himself from Brady's appeal shortly after Smith's interview with ESPN on Friday afternoon.