BOSTON (CBS) – On Tuesday morning, ESPN’s Adam Schefter helped answer a very important question that people have been asking ever since the DeflateGate punishment was issued.

That is, if team employees Jim McNally and John Jastremski did nothing wrong — as the Patriots insist — then why were they suspended indefinitely by the Patriots?

Answer: Because the NFL wanted them to.

Per Schefter:

“For those asking why Patriots suspended two employees if those two did nothing wrong, as New England claims: NFL asked Pats to suspend them prior to discipline being handed down, per a league source in New York. New England obliged with the NFL’s request.”

The spring owners meetings take place Tuesday in San Francisco, and according to Schefter, the NFL and the Patriots are engaged in “back-channel conversations” to see if the two sides can strike a deal to avoid an appeal hearing for their penalties.

If nothing changes, Tom Brady will be suspended four games and the Patriots will lose a first round pick in 2016, a fourth-round pick in 2017 and will be fined $1 million.

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