The National Football League has zeroed in on a locker room attendant as a “strong person of interest” in the historic event known as “deflategate,” according to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer:
— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) January 26, 2015
Allegedly, the locker room attendant took the New England Patriots’ footballs to “another area” before they made their way onto the field for the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts. A surveillance video reportedly exists, which Pro Football Talk says was discovered by the Patriots and turned over to the the NFL.
The video reportedly shows the attendant taking two bags of footballs -- 12 balls to be used by the Patriots, and 12 by the Colts -- into a bathroom for approximately 90 seconds, according to PFT.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick told the media during a Saturday press conference that after looking into the issue over the past week, he had concluded that the team acted in accordance with the NFL’s guidelines. Belichick and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady have denied any involvement in the controversy.
Belichick blamed the deflation on naturally occurring factors like weather conditions or the process of rubbing balls to wear them in before games. A slightly under-inflated football can be easier to throw and catch.
ESPN reported last week that the NFL found that 11 of the team’s 12 footballs had been significantly under-inflated. All of the Colts’ footballs met league standards.
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This story has been updated to include additional information about what the video reportedly shows.