By HOWARD ULMAN
AP Sports Writer
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) _ Tom Brady makes his first public appearance Thursday night since a 243-page report found some of his claims were “implausible” concerning under-inflated balls in the AFC championship game.
Brady is scheduled to be interviewed by sportscaster Jim Gray during a previously scheduled event at Salem State University.
The report by NFL-appointed investigator Ted Wells issued Wednesday concluded that two New England Patriots employees violated rules covering game balls and that Brady was “at least generally aware” of plans to doctor the footballs to his liking.
Brady’s agent, Don Yee, says the NFL was determined to blame Brady for deflated footballs in the 45-7 win over Indianapolis in the AFC title game, and the investigation omitted key facts and buried others.
The Patriots canceled prior plans to make two players available to reporters during voluntary team workouts held at the team’s headquarters, then said nobody with the team would be available on Thursday. The team didn’t respond to requests from The Associated Press seeking comment from Brady and Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who was exonerated in the report.
Wells concluded there was no plausible explanation for the deflated footballs besides deliberate tampering. Text messages to and about Brady led to the conclusions that he was aware, if not more actively involved, in the scheme.
The NFL is now using Wells’ findings as it considers potential punishment. Brady, the MVP of the 2015 Super Bowl, could be fined or face a suspension. The Patriots are scheduled to play their opener against the Steelers in the kickoff game of the NFL regular season on Sept. 10.