Tom Brady is not taking the decision of his suspension so well, and he is appealing it to find out if science supports the league’s results in their investigation. Brady also wants to know who ordered his suspension. Meanwhile, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell refuses to excuse himself from the hearing, which the NFL union would like him to do.
The Patriots quarterback and his lawyer have arrived in New York at the office of the NFL commissioner for the beginning of his case, in which he will plead with the league to repeal his suspension. He was given a four-game deferment for his part in the Deflategate scandal, when Brady used footballs that were not inflated to regulation standards against the Indianapolis Colts. Goodell will be hearing the quarterback’s appeal, maintaining that it is necessary for him to supervise the proceedings to protect the league. The league made their decision to suspend the Patriots quarterback based on what the results of the Tom Wells report had determined.
The New England Patriots received a $1 million fine, and had to give up two first-round draft picks for their part in the scandal. Along with some key points, Brady would like to address how the league made their decision, and is basing the appeal of his suspension on the very science of it. According to the NFL, it was Goodell who gave executive Troy Vincent the authority to issue the penalties to Brady, but Goodell says that he only agreed with Vincent, and allowed him to communicate with the quarterback about the punishment. Goodell wrote a letter to the union in the beginning of the month which said that whoever signed the letter written to the quarterback is unimportant. The consequences were proclaimed when Wells examined the evidence and proved that the Patriots played the AFC championship game with under-inflated balls, which broke the rules.
It cannot be denied that Brady had knowledge, as well as put his own input into, how the footballs were to be prepared for his use. Vincent is the vice president of the procedures department in the NFL, and had taken over for Ray Anderson, who himself had delivered several punishments, as well as fines, for the many violations committed by both the league and the players. Vincent has a history of fining players and even officials for going against the rule book. The National Football Leagues Players Association (NFLPA) will only say something, or start an appeal, when players are directly involved.
Defense attorneys plan to argue that the scientific evidence, which the Wells independent firm was hired to examine scientifically, does not in fact point to any wrongdoing on Brady’s part. It is clear that the punishment is more severe that the violation, although it is obvious something should be done that is perhaps a little less harsh. The owner of the New England team is not appealing the penalties, but he did defend his quarterback and the rest of the team, who are accused of illegal actions.
Goodell stated that he will let Brady’s attorneys argue against the science of the claims and bring in new evidence as part of the appeal process in the following week. However, if he cannot get his suspensions repealed, it is likely he will go to court. He does have an impressive winning record with the Patriots, but one must wonder if the under-inflated balls contributed to his winning record. He testified in front of Goodell on Saturday, June 23, and while he walked into the commissioner’s office, he looked confident, and still proclaimed his innocence.
Opinion by Katherine Miller-Chichester
ESPN: Brady testifying under oath at appeal
Yahoo News: Brady appeal begins at NFL headquarters
NFL.com: New England Patriots: Tom Brady
Photo Courtesy of Keith Allison’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License