Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The FBI—the FBI!—and NFL security have recovered not one but two missing Super Bowl jerseys worn by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The more recent theft, noticed by Brady in the moments after New England beat Atlanta in Super Bowl 51 in February, prompted quite a stir. It turns out that Brady's jersey from Super Bowl 49 also was missing, and both items reportedly were found "on foreign soil," according to Fox's Jay Glazer. Foreign soil? Did all of the Navy Seals get back OK?
So Brady has his stuff back (or he will soon), but who is responsible for these larcenies? The NFL sent this out Monday morning:
Statement on the recovery of @Patriots Tom Brady jerseys pic.twitter.com/3htT0kWhA6
— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) March 20, 2017
Not everyone believes the NFL, though:
@NFLprguy @Patriots pic.twitter.com/ph8Y2ZymcR
— 6 (@DynastyDriven) March 20, 2017
Back to the official story: "A credentialed member of the international media," the league says. The important words here are "credentialed" and "international." Credentialed, meaning someone who supposedly was vetted and thus allowed specific access to the players' locker rooms after the game. International, meaning it wasn't someone based in the United States. Phew! Patriots stealing from Patriots would have been too much to bear. Glazer provided further details on the developing situation in a tweet later that day:
More breaking details: NFL believes the jersey was stolen by someone posing as international media (cont) https://t.co/2CbbOctQe6
— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) March 20, 2017
It's likely the NFL needs to take a closer look at just who it is they're letting into locker rooms. It's also possible that, with the state of journalism these days, the guilty party is simply a real reporter supplementing his or her media income with memorabilia larceny. There's another possibility, too:
We know that Russian President Vladimir Putin is an avid collector of Patriots memorabilia. Perhaps he's using a member of Russian state media as an agent of liberation. You can't prove it's not true!
Update: Houston police believe they found the jerseys in Mexico. Working together with Mexican authorities, the Houston police department identified the suspect and recovered the jerseys. HPD chief Art Acevedo said the suspect will face federal charges, and also "had legitimate access to the Super Bowl."
Update 2:20 p.m.: Details are slowly trickling in here, but according to Ian Rapoport, the jersey thief has been identified as Mauricio Ortega, a former executive for the Mexican tabloid Diario La Prensa. Jay Glazer also revealed some footage from outside and inside the locker room that law enforcement used to track down the jersey. The views provided do not show him taking the jersey, and you can't actually see it anywhere, but he does walk into the locker room wearing a credential, and carrying a bag and then leaving with something underneath his left arm.
According to the AP, the newspaper is going to provide a statement on this at some point.
Update 5:10 p.m.: And now Tom Brady has released a statement in which he says "Hopefully when I get the jerseys back I can make something very positive come from this experience." Whatever that means.
Tom Brady statement via his agent Don Yee pic.twitter.com/B6BeRgiBxD
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 20, 2017