FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI/AP) — NFL officials say Commissioner Roger Goodell will personally hear Tom Brady’s appeal of his four-game suspension over deflated footballs.
League officials said Thursday night that Goodell chose to preside over the appeal as allowed under the current collective bargaining agreement.
The players union that filed the appeal urged Goodell to appoint a neutral arbitrator in the case.
The NFL Players Association filed an appeal on Brady’s behalf shortly before Thursday’s 4 p.m. deadline.
Brady was suspended after an independent investigator hired by the league ruled that he likely had some knowledge that footballs used in the AFC Championship were not properly inflated.
The appeal filed on Brady’s behalf states:
“Given the NFL’s history of inconsistency and arbitrary decisions in disciplinary matters, it is only fair that a neutral arbitrator hear this appeal.
“If Ted Wells and the NFL believe, as their public comments stated, that the evidence in their report is ‘direct’ and ‘inculpatory,’ then they should be confident enough to present their case before someone who is truly independent.” — NFL Players Association
The appeal came hours after the Patriots released a nearly 20,000-word report detailing the team’s distrust of the 243-page report by Ted Wells, citing “inconsistencies in logic and evidence.”
In the report, attorneys for the team state that several important factors were dismissed from the case by Wells.
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The statement reads, in part:
“The report dismisses the scientific explanation for the natural loss of psi of the Patriots footballs by inexplicably rejecting the Referee’s recollection of what gauge he used in his pregame inspection. Texts acknowledged to be attempts at humor and exaggeration are nevertheless interpreted as a plot to improperly deflate footballs, even though none of them refer to any such plot. There is no evidence that Tom Brady preferred footballs that were lower than 12.5 psi and no evidence anyone even thought that he did.”
Wells’ report said the evidence he reviewed shows that “it is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate attempt to circumvent those rules.”
In their revised report, lawyers for the Patriots said their intention “is to provide additional context for balance and consideration.”
After receiving criticism, Wells responded in defense of the report, saying his findings were strong enough to hold up in a court of law.
“What drove the decision in this report is one thing: It was the evidence,” Wells said. “I could not ethically ignore the import and relevancy of those text messages and the other evidence.”
As a result of Wells’ findings, Brady has been suspended for the first four games of the season. The Pats were fined $1 million — and they will also lose two draft picks.
Before word of his suspension got out, Brady said the “deflategate” investigation does not tarnish the team’s Super Bowl Win.
“We earned everything we got and achieved as a team, and I am proud of that and so are our fans,” he said.