The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) has advised its players not to talk about the "DeflateGate" scandal.
The National Football League Player Association (NFLPA) has advised its players to not talk about the "DeflateGate" scandal.
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This was what New England Patriots union representative Matthew Slater told ESPN's Mike Reiss on Jan. 24. Slater emphasized this is meant to protect the NFLPA's players:
"We've been instructed by our union, as players, to reserve comment on this situation. It's an ongoing investigation, and in order to protect our players, we're going to go ahead and not talk about it."
Union executive George Attalah told Reiss that was the usual advice from the NFLPA whenever a player is involved in a league investigation.
Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower said he is not worried about the outcome of the NFL's investigation, per ESPN: He said, "It is what it is. At the end of the day, we can't control any allegations or whatever. All we can do is go out and play ball. Our goal is to go out and win."
According to USA TODAY's Lindsay H. Jones, The NFL discovered the Patriots used underinflated footballs during the first half of the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts on Jan. 18. Properly-inflated footballs were used during the second half. NFL executive vice president Jeff Pash, attorney Ted Wells and a forensic evidence team are spearheading the investigation.
Wells was the main investigator of the infamous bullying scandal involving former Miami Dolphins offensive linemen Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin, per Jones.
The USA TODAY update reveals the NFL has interviewed "nearly 40" individuals in its investigation.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft released a statement on Jan. 23 (via USA TODAY):
"I instructed our staff to be completey cooperative and transparent with the league's investigators. During the three days they were here, we provided access to every full-time and and part-time employee the league's representatives requested to speak with and produced every communication device that they are requested to search. It is an ongoing process that the league and our team are taking very seriously.
"I very much support the league's desire to conduct a complete investigation and welcome the appointment of Ted Wells to lead the process. Competitive balance and the integrity of the game are the foundation of what makes our league so special and I have the utmost respect for those principles. Our organization will continue to cooperate throughout the league's investigation."
Part of the NFL's official statement obtained by Jones reads as follows:
"The playing rules are intended to protect the fairness and integrity of our games. We take seriously the claims that those rules have been violated and will fullyl investigate this matter without compromise or delay. The investigation is ongoing, will be thorough and objective, and is being pursued expeditiously. In the coming days, we expect to conduct numerous additional interviews, examine video and other forensic evidence, as well as relevant physical evidence.
"While the evidence thus far supports the conclusion that footballs that were under-inflated were used by the Patriots in the first half, the footballs were properly inflated for the second half and confirmed at the conclusion of the game to have remained properly inflated.
"The goals of the investigation will be to determine the explanation for why footballs used in the game were not in compliance with the playing rules and specifically whether any noncompliance was the result of deliberate action. We have not made any judgments on these points and will not do so until we have concluded our investigation and considered all the relevant evidence."
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