New England Patriots' locker room staff accused of deliberately releasing air from the Patriots game balls after the footballs were examined by the referee complained about the work and the team's star quarterback, according to a NFL report released on Wednesday.
In colorful text messages included in the report between Jim McNally, the attendant for the locker room used by officials at Gillette Stadium, and John Jastremski, an equipment assistant, McNally at one point refers to himself as "the deflator."
The so-called “deflategate” report, prepared by staff at the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, found that it was “more probable than not” that McNally and Jastremski doctored the balls and that the quarterback Tom Brady was “at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities.”
In the messages between McNally and Jastremski, the pair grouse about Brady’s unhappiness with the balls’ inflation levels and discuss Jastremski’s plan to provide McNally with a needle to inflate or deflate balls, the report says. The report says McNally requested cash and sneakers to be provided along with the needle.
A statement from the Patriots' chairman, Robert Kraft, defended the team and questioned the report's conclusions.
"To say we are disappointed in its findings, which do not include any incontrovertible or hard evidence of deliberate deflation of footballs at the AFC Championship game, would be a gross understatement," he said.
Attempts to reach McNally and Jastremski for comment have been unsuccessful.
On Oct. 17, 2014, after Brady had complained angrily, the men exchanged these texts, the report says.
McNally: Tom sucks...im going make that next ball a f----- balloon
Jastremski: Talked to him last night. He actually brought you up and
said you must have a lot of stress trying to get them done...
Jastremski: I told him it was. He was right though...
Jastremski: I checked some of the balls this morn... The refs f----- us...a few of then (sic) were at almost 16
Jastremski: They didnt recheck then after they put air in them
McNally: F--- tom ...16 is nothing...wait till next sunday
Jastremski: Omg! Spaz
Then on Oct. 23, three days before a Sunday game against the Chicago Bears, Jastremski and McNally exchanged these messages:
“Can’t wait to give you your needle this week :)
McNally: F--- tom....make sure the pump is attached to the needle…..f----- watermelons coming
Jastremski: So angry
McNally: The only thing deflating sun..is his passing rating
Here was their exchange on the next day, Oct. 24:
Jastremski: I have a big needle for u this week
McNally: Better be surrounded by cash and newkicks....or its a rugby sunday
McNally: F--- tom
Jastremski: Maybe u will have some nice size 11s in ur locker
McNally: Tom must really be working your balls hard this week
And again on Oct. 25:
Jastremski: Size 11?
Jastremski: 2 or 3X?
McNally: Tom must really be on you
McNally: 11 0r 11 half......2x unless its tight fitting
Jastremski: Nah. Hasn’t even mentioned it, figured u should get something since he gives u nothing
Eleven days before the AFC Championship Game, McNally and Jastremski discussed McNally receiving items autographed by Brady the following weekend, before the playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens, according to the report.
McNally: Remember to put a couple sweet pig skins ready for tom to sign
Jastremski: U got it kid...big autograph day for you
McNally: Nice throw some kicks in and make it real special
Jastremski: It ur lucky. 11?
McNally: 11 or 11 and half kid
Finally before the start of the 2014-2015 season, McNally referred to himself as “the deflator.”
McNally: You working
McNally: Nice dude....jimmy needs some kicks....lets make a deal.....come on help the deflator
McNally: Chill buddy im just f----- with you ....im not going to espn........yet