BOSTON (CBS) — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has ruled on Tom Brady’s appeal, deciding to uphold his four-game suspension for his role in the DeflateGate scandal.
The league cited Brady’s unwillingness to cooperate with Ted Wells’ investigation, and the fact the quarterback ordered his cell phone destroyed during the investigation as the reason why they upheld the four-game ban.READ MORE: Revolution Season Comes To Disappointing End With Loss To NYCFC In East Semis
Brady and the NFL Player’s Association will take their case to Federal Court in hopes of getting the suspension overturned. It’s unclear when the hearing will take place, or if Brady will get an injunction that will allow him to play while the case is pending.
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Brady, backed by the NFLPA and outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler, had filed the appeal of the four-game suspension issued by Goodell back in early May.
The 10-hour hearing was held Tuesday, June 23 at the NFL offices in New York City, with Goodell serving as the arbitrator.
Ted Wells, who was responsible for the 243-page investigative report which served as the basis for the punishment, was also present, as were Don Yee, Brady’s agent; Tom DePaso, NFLPA general counsel; Jeff Pash, NFL executive VP; Adolpho Birch, NFL senior VP of law and labor policy. According to Adam Schefter, Brady testified under oath during the hearing.
Brady reportedly put forth an “A-plus performance” during the hearing, with Brady coming off “as genuine, earnest and persuasive, addressing every issue raised in the league-sanctioned Wells report.” The NFL, however, quickly contested this notion.
The Wells report deemed it “more probable than not” that two Patriots employees conspired to lower the inflation level of footballs in the AFC Championship Game. The report then determined it “more probable than not” that Brady “was at least generally aware” of their actions.READ MORE: Red Wings Beat Bruins 2-1
The Patriots were penalized with the forfeiture of a first-round and fourth-round draft pick, as well as a $1 million fine. That was a punishment which team owner Robert Kraft initially disputed but eventually accepted.
“Although I might disagree with what is decided, I do have respect for the commissioner and believe that he’s doing what he perceives to be in the best interests of the full 32,” Kraft said in San Francisco in mid-May. “So in that spirit, I don’t want to continue the rhetoric that’s gone on for the last four months. I’m going to accept, reluctantly, what he has given to us and not continue this dialogue and rhetoric, and we won’t appeal.”
Yee was perhaps the most outspoken critic of the Wells report, and subsequently the four-game suspension issued to his client.
“The discipline is ridiculous and has no legitimate basis,” Yee said in May. “In my opinion, this outcome was predetermined; there was no fairness in the Wells investigation whatsoever.”
When Brady’s suspension was announced, the NFL worded it to imply that NFL executive VP Troy Vincent issued the punishment, with Goodell only “authorizing” the ruling. Goodell later forwarded this story when speaking at the owners’ meetings in San Francisco. Yet in Goodell’s letter to the NFLPA on June 2, Goodell claimed full responsibility for the issuance of the punishment.
“There can be no dispute that this is an appeal of Commissioner discipline,” Goodell wrote. “I did not delegate my disciplinary authority to Mr. Vincent; I concurred in his recommendation and authorized him to communicate to Mr. Brady the discipline imposed under my authority as Commissioner.”
Goodell told the media on May 20 that he looked forward to hearing “directly from Tom.”
“If there is new information or there’s information in helping us get this right, I want to hear directly from Tom on that,” Goodell said.MORE NEWS: COVID Booster Demand 'Skyrocketing' In Massachusetts
The Patriots open their season on Thursday, Sept. 10 at Gillette Stadium against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Training camp opens this week, with the first team practice scheduled for Thursday, July 30.