Tom Brady broke his silence Thursday. And he did it by saying nothing at all.
Booked for a speaking engagement long before the Ted Wells investigative report was released Wednesday, Brady still showed up for his interview a day later with well-known questioner Jim Gray. In front of a crowd that, at worst, was fawning, Gray asked about the Wells report that basically accused the Patriots quarterback of cheating by knowing about and/or ordering the deflation of footballs to below the NFL standards that would allow him to feel more comfortable throwing the ball.
Though Gray explained that the Q&A session in front of an adoring crowd at Salem State University in Salem, Mass., wasn’t supposed to be about Brady’s #DeflateGate response, Gray had to ask about it.
“There is an elephant in the room,” Gray said.
Said Brady: “Where?”
Responded Gray: “You may be the only one who doesn’t see it.”
Brady eventually said, “I don’t really have any reaction. It’s been 30 hours. I didn’t have much time to digest it fully, but when I do, I’ll be sure to let you know how I feel about it.”
“Are you that slow a reader?” Gray asked.
“My athletic career has been better than my academic career,” Brady answered.
Brady also said he hoped he could address #DeflateGate soon and that he’s fortunate to have so many people around him who love him. Asked by Gray if the Patriots’ Super Bowl victory had been tainted by this scandal, which almost surely will be concluded with some sort of league-mandated punishment for Brady. Said Brady: “Absolutely not.”
And then, Brady and Gray—who did an admirable job in his role as the heel interviewer trying to get anything of substance out of Brady—moved on.
The last time Brady answered questions about the inflation of his footballs came in January, and he appeared nervous—a rarity for such a media-savvy quarterback. On Thursday, though, he looked relaxed and content and not willing to answer any question he wasn’t interested in answering.
As you can see below:
Some Twitter reaction to the interview:
Never seen Tom Brady be this mobile in the pocket— J.A. Adande (@jadande) May 8, 2015
Tom Brady is dodging and weaving so much, it's like he's fighting Pacquiao.— TODD!TODD!TODD! (@BigHeadBS) May 8, 2015
The big question from the Wells report was what Brady knew, why he didn’t cooperate, and why he didn’t give up his cell phone to the investigators. He certainly didn’t shed any light on those topics Thursday. Nor did he touch on the text messages sent between Patriots locker room attendant Jim McNally and equipment assistant John Jastremski in which they refer to Brady and how he wants the balls inflated.
But Brady certainly isn’t in the clear. He could receive a suspension from the league, and this controversy will taint his career. As the Wells report states, it’s “more probable than not” that Brady knew about the deflated footballs. His interview Thursday did nothing to change that perception.
Photo via Keith Allison/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)