FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (CBS/AP) — Tom Brady asked a federal judge in Minnesota to overturn his four-game suspension for the scandal known as “Deflategate.”
In a filing Wednesday afternoon, lawyers working with the NFL Players Association asked U.S. District Judge David Doty to vacate the suspension or at least put it on hold until the case can be heard.READ MORE: Coast Guard Searching For Woman Who Fell Overboard From Rhode Island Ferry
Attorney Jeffrey Kessler told The Associated Press that the league broke at least four procedural rules when it suspended the reigning Super Bowl MVP for “his alleged ‘general awareness’ that somebody else violated a policy.”
“It would be as if you would punish one player on a team because he has been generally aware that another player on a team is taking steroids,” Kessler said.
The union asked Doty to throw out the suspension before Sept. 4; that would allow Brady to participate in all practices before the Patriots’ Sept. 10 season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. If Doty needs more time, Brady’s lawyers are asking him for an injunction that would prevent the league from enforcing the suspension.
“We don’t believe this discipline can ever be sustained,” Kessler said.
Earlier in the day, Brady posted on his Facebook page that he had done “nothing wrong.”
“I am very disappointed by the NFL’s decision to uphold the 4 game suspension against me. I did nothing wrong, and no one in the Patriots organization did either,” Brady said.READ MORE: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Today's Developments
Later in the morning, Patriots owner Robert Kraft made a surprise appearance at a press conference and called the league’s actions “incomprehensible.”
Kraft also said he regrets his decision not to appeal the league’s punishment against the team. The Patriots were fined $1 million and docked two draft picks.
“Once again, I want to apologize to fans of the New England Patriots and Tom Brady. I was wrong to put my faith in the league,” Kraft said.
Full Statement from the NFLPA:
“The NFLPA filed an appeal today on behalf of Tom Brady in U.S. District Court of Minnesota to vacate the four-game suspension upheld by Goodell based on the following:
• There was no direct evidence in the Wells Report so the discipline was based on a made up “general awareness” standard to justify such absurd and unprecedented punishment.
• Roger Goodell delegated his disciplinary authority to Troy Vincent, violating our Collective Bargaining Agreement, and then as the “arbitrator,” he ruled on his own improper delegation, botching basic arbitration law and fundamental fairness.
• A collectively bargained policy already exists regarding tampering with equipment that provides only for fines, not suspensions. Troy Vincent ignored this policy when he issued his initial discipline. The policy that Vincent did apply to Brady only covers teams and team executives, not players. The NFL once again violated players’ right to advance notice of discipline to try to justify unprecedented punishment.
• No player in NFL history has served a suspension for “non-cooperation” or “obstruction.” And, in this case, the evidence is paper-thin.
• The appeals hearing held on June 23, 2015 defied any concept of fundamental fairness and violated the principles of our CBA.
The collective bargaining agreement provides procedures and guidelines for how the Commissioner conducts disciplinary hearings and the rules applicable to players. The NFL chose to violate these principles.
By pursuing this petition, our union is protecting the rights of Tom Brady and of every NFL player past, present and future.”MORE NEWS: Ups And Downs: Patriots Run All Over Bills, Defense Makes The Big Plays In Monday Night Win
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