Ted Wells will forever be known as the guy who oversaw the needlessly in-depth, overblown and comically pedantic report on the inflation of the New England Patriots’ footballs in the AFC Championship — immortalized as Deflategate or Ballghazi depending on which sites you read — but it wasn’t the first investigation he led on a disciplinary issue in the NFL. Wells was also the supposedly independent investigator hired to look into the Miami Dolphins’ bullying scandal centered around offensive linemen Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito during the 2013 season.
Now, Jim Turner, who was fired from his position as the Dolphins’ offensive line coach as a result of Wells’ investigation, has filed suit against Wells for defamation, as reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Claiming that Wells’ report unfairly placed blame on him for fostering an environment conducive to bullying, Turner asserts the report has impeded his ability to land another job in the NFL.
As defamation lawsuits go, it’s fairly standard stuff, but the key passage from Schefter’s report relates to Turner’s suspicion of Wells’ motives for implicating him in his investigation:
In the lawsuit, Turner alleges the NFL commissioned Wells and Paul Weiss to write a report that would placate the public and assign blame to certain individuals such as Turner, while the law firm was well-paid and well-positioned for future work on NFL cases such as the one that turned out to be Deflategate.
And suddenly, the revelation that “independent” investigators paid millions of dollars by the NFL are under pressure to come to conclusions in line with the NFL’s desired outcome hits like an atom bomb. Everyone’s shocked – SHOCKED – that Ted Wells might paint his investigations to satisfy Roger Goodell and ensure he gets future work (and money) from the NFL!
I’m sure that news of this lawsuit will pass through New England sports talk radio largely unnoticed.