AP Foto/Mark Lennihan
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's four-game suspension Tuesday, the punishment having originally been issued May 11 as a result of the scandal now known as Deflategate.
Brady appealed the decision in a hearing on June 23 that lasted more than 10 hours, but ultimately Goodell decided to keep the suspension in place. Based on the Wells Report and other evidence presented during the hearing, Goodell concluded that Brady was aware of and even took steps to support the actions of other team employees to "deflate game footballs below the levels called for by the NFL's Official Playing Rules," according to a statement by the NFL obtained by E! News.
"Notwithstanding my enormous respect for his accomplishments on the field and for his contributions and role in the community, I find that, with respect to the game balls used in the AFC Championship Game and the subsequent investigation, Mr. Brady engaged in conduct detrimental to the integrity of, and public confidence in, the game of professional football," Goodell wrote in his decision, also obtained by E! News.
The NFL Players Association appealed the suspension, which was also given without pay, citing the league's murky history with disciplinary actions.
"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 NFLPA said in a statement prior to the appeal hearing. "If Ted Wells [the author of the report] and the NFL believe, as their public comments stated, that the evidence in their report is 'direct' and 'inculpatory,' then they should be confident enough to present their case before someone who is truly independent."
Since Brady lost his appeal, he isn't expected to return to the field until Oct. 18, which happens to be a rematch against the Colts, the team the Patriots played in the AFC Championship game.
Brady's agent and attorney Don Yee said today of Goodell's decision, "The Commissioner's decision is deeply disappointing, but not surprising because the appeal process was thoroughly lacking in procedural fairness. Most importantly, neither Tom nor the Patriots did anything wrong. And the NFL has no evidence that anything inappropriate occurred."