NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, announced Thursday that he will personally hear the suspension appeal of Tom Brady.
Brady is challenging the league’s 4-game suspension for his role in using deflated footballs during the AFC championship game.
The NFL Players Association filed the expected appeal only an hour before the 5 p.m. deadline on Thursday, requesting a neutral arbitrator handle the case. About six hours after the appeal was filed, Greg Aiello, an NFL spokesmen, said that the request for a neutral arbitrator had been rejected.
“Commissioner Goodell will hear the appeal of Tom Brady’s suspension in accordance with the process agreed upon with the NFL Players Association in the 2011 collective bargaining agreement,” he said.
Although the CBA gives Goodell control of the arbitrator, the players union released a statement saying,
“given the NFL’s history of inconsistency and arbitrary decisions in disciplinary matters, it is only fair that a neutral arbitrator hear this appeal.”
The union added that if the league and its investigators are confident in this case, “they should be confident enough to present their case before someone who is truly independent.”
While the union did not give details for the reason for the appeal, the Patriot’s lawyers posted a 20,000-word rebuttal online. The team is disputing the conclusions on matters of science, logic and law.
Daniel Goldberg, attorney, responded by saying that the claims of the league’s conclusions are “at best, incomplete, incorrect and lack context,” claiming as one example that the “deflator” nickname used by a ballboy and cited in the discipline was about weight loss, not footballs.
Goldberg represented the team and was present during all of interviews of team personnel. Patriots spokesman Stacey James confirmed that the site wellsreportcontext.com was genuine and “approved/supported by the team.”
On Monday, Super Bowl champion quarterback, Tom Brady, was suspended for four games, while the team was fined $1 million and had two draft picks taken away.
Brady’s appeal only deals with the suspension and must be heard within 10 days. The team has not said if it will appeal its penalties, which include a first-round draft pick next year and a fourth-rounder in 2017.