(Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Lawyers for the New England Patriots have issued a long letter defending the team against the Wells report.
In the letter, the lawyers defend locker-room attendant Jim McNally and equipment assistant John Jastremski, who sent series of damning texts seemingly discussing their plan to deflate the footballs.
In one text from May 2014, McNally called himself "the deflator."
According to Patriots lawyers, McNally and Jastremski weren't talking about footballs. In the letter, the lawyers say "deflator" referred to McNally's losing weight.
The letter calls Jastremski a "slender guy" whose goal was to lift and gain weight. Meanwhile, McNally is called a "big fellow" whose goal was to lose weight. The explanation from the letter:
They never asked Mr. Jastremski about it in his interview. Had they done so, they would have learned from either gentleman one of the ways they used the deflation/deflator term. Mr. Jastremski would sometimes work out and bulk up — he is a slender guy and his goal was to get to 200 pounds. Mr. McNally is a big fellow and had the opposite goal: to lose weight. "Deflate" was a term they used to refer to losing weight. One can specifically see this use of the term in a Nov. 30, 2014 text from Mr. McNally to Mr. Jastremski: "deflate and give somebody that jacket." (p. 87). This banter, and Mr. McNally's goal of losing weight, meant Mr. McNally was the "deflator." There was nothing complicated or sinister about it.
The letter also provided texts from McNally and Jastremski discussing losing weight:
12:21:46: JM "Whats up dorito dink"
12:22:53: JJ "Nada"
12:22:53: JM "Whens the pong party….im on fire"
12:23:10: JJ "Omg"
12:23:34: JM "Bring it"
16:29:48: JM "You still with your women"
16:29:59: JJ "Yup"
16:33:21: JM "You must have her [omitted out of respect to Mrs. Jastremski]"
16:34:39: JM "You must have a picture of her [omitted out of respect to Mrs. Jastremski]"
16:36:31: JJ "Omg"
16:37:16: JM "You working"
16:37:53 JJ "Yup"
16:39:40 JM "Nice dude…jimmy needs some kicks….lets
make a deal…come on help the deflator"
The letter also says one text from McNally, "Chill buddy im just f----n with you…. im not going to espn …. yet," actually referred to a joke by McNally that he wouldn't get Jastremski in trouble for giving him new sneakers. Here's the full explanation from the letter:
The 'espn' reference in this string of jocular texts was part of their banter and related to the 'new kicks.' Mr. Jastremski had made it clear to Mr. McNally over time that his (Jastremski’s) boss would not be happy with him were he to give away sneakers to Mr. McNally. That fact is quite explicit in a number of their texts. (p. 82 — after texting about possibly getting Mr. McNally sneakers and apparel, Mr. Jastremski writes: 'unless Dave [his boss, Dave Schoenfeld] leaves the room tomorrow then it'll wait till next week'). Getting sneakers or apparel for his friend Mr. McNally, in short, meant Mr. Jastremski would have to do so behind his boss's back. They teased each other about whether Mr. Jastremski would get in trouble for giving him sneakers. The May 2014 McNally text reference to 'not going to espn' follows his request for 'new kicks,' and was Mr. McNally's way of saying, in substance: 'Hey, don't worry about whether giving me those sneakers will get you in trouble — I'll never tell.'
The lawyers say the NFL investigators had these texts but never asked Jastremski or McNally about the meaning of them. Had they done so, the lawyers contend, context for "deflator" would have been provided.
In the NFL's official statement in which the league announced Tom Brady's four-game suspension, it says the Patriots suspended both McNally and Jastremski. Neither can be reinstated without the approval of Troy Vincent, the NFL's executive vice president of football operations, and neither will be allowed to resume his respective positions or handle equipment, namely footballs, on game days.
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