May 11, NFL announced, Tom Brady was suspended from the 2015 season for the first four games. The suspension came about when he was accused for being aware of footballs being deflated by Patriot employees, during the AFC championship game. After not being cooperative with investigators Brady sought out an appeal for his suspension, and has a hearing set to take place June 23.
Roger Goodwill, NFL Commissioner has recently decided to be Brady’s hearing officer in the case, and if the two can not get through the appeal by June 23, courts are allowing the hearing to continue until the 25th of June. Although Goodwill has made his decision, the NFLPA has asked him to recuse himself from the case and name an arbitrator, due to the union calling Goodwill and league vice president Troy Vincent as witnesses.
Vincent notified Brady of his suspension, and based the findings of the punishment to be led by Ted Wells. Although June 23, Brady’s suspension appeal will be heard, the Patriots have been fined $1 million and two draft picks for the seasons being docked in 2016 for a first-round pick, and 2017 for a fourth-round pick. The Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, have told sources he is not going to fight the team’s penalties. Kraft has accepted Brady’s punishment, although the football star did not participate in the activities of deflating the footballs.
The NFL has had a past history of random decisions in disciplinary matters along with inconsistency, and the NFLPA told sources in a statement, “it is only neutral that an outside arbitrator hears to the appeal.” They also believe if the NFL and Wells are confident with the evidence being direct, there should not be a problem to prove their case to someone who is independent.
While Brady is facing a battle it did not seem like he was under a lot of pressure at the 16th annual Best Buddies Challenge, a nonprofit focused on creating genuine friendships, leadership and employment opportunities for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Sources found the athlete pumping his fist and hyping the crowd when performing a kickoff during touch football. At the event he was also joined with wide receivers from the Patriots, Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman, along with Pat’s players Dan Koppen and Scott Zolak. The quarterback did not say anything at the event, and many fans and friends supported him and his appeal wearing t-shirts that said ‘Free Brady,’ his Patriots jersey, and Patriots gear. The crowd supported the football star, along with the kids who were able to catch perfect spirals thrown by the football player.
Spectators told sources they were all in favor of Brady and disagreed with the investigation. Being true fans of the football player, some fans stated that they do not believe a deflated football had anything to do with the win of the AFC championship game.
June 23 marks the date of Brady’s hearing of the appeal to his suspension. If the suspension sticks with him the star athlete will come back to play for the Patriots during week 6, against the team he started with, the Indiana Colts.
By Krystle Mitchell
The Boston Globe: Tom Brady’s appeal heard June 23
CBS Sports: Appeal heard June 23
Boston Herald: Buddies back up football athlete
Photo Courtesy of Keith Allison’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License