Players' union slaps gag order on Patriots over Deflategate
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady talks to the media at Gillette Stadium. (Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports)
New England Patriots wide receiver Matthew Slater said Saturday that the NFL Players Association has recommended players avoid publicly talking about the league's ongoing investigation regarding under inflated footballs.
"I'd love to get into that with you, but we have been instructed by our union as players to reserve comment on this situation," Slater, the Patriots' union representative, said when asked what the NFL could do to avoid a similar situation in the future. "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 Atallah told ESPN.com that was standard advice from the union for any players involved in a league investigation.
Slater, a seven-year veteran and Patriots captain who is regarded as one of the NFL's top special teams coverage players, said that internally the team has "addressed it and moved on."
The NFL issued a statement Friday on the so-called Deflategate, stating the investigation is ongoing and the league will "fully investigate this matter without compromise or delay."
The NFL investigation is being led by league vice president Jeff Pash and outside attorney Ted Wells, who led the investigation into the Miami Dolphins' bullying scandal in 2013.
After the Patriots advanced to the Super Bowl with a 45-7 rout of the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday night, reports surfaced that the Patriots purposely deflated footballs used in the game.
The investigation reportedly has found 11 of New England's 12 allotted game balls were under inflated.
The NFL said it began the investigation Sunday night and had conducted nearly 40 interviews and are "continuing to obtain additional information, including video and other electronic information and physical evidence."
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who held a news conference on the subject Thursday, also addressed teammates that day.
"He stood up and spoke and just said, 'This is a distraction and we just need to keep focus as a team,'" cornerback Darrelle Revis said Friday. "'We have a big game to play,' and that's something he wouldn't do. He wouldn't break any rules."