Tom Brady Appears for Deflategate Appeal at NFL Headquarters

He'll have to serve his four-game suspension if Roger Goodell holds up the decision

By Francesca Bacardi Jun 23, 2015 3:47 PMTags
Tom BradyAP Foto/Mark Lennihan

Tom Brady is appearing at NFL headquarters Tuesday to appeal his four-game suspension, a punishment he received as a result of the Deflategate scandal.

The NFL suspended the New England Patriots quarterback without pay after an investigation found that he "probably" knew about his team using under-inflated footballs during the 2015 AFC Championship game. But the NFL Players Association appealed the decision, claiming the NFL's history has been murky at best when it comes to 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. "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."

Jim Rogash/Getty Images

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is the arbitrator in the proceedings, where Brady will reportedly testify underoath, according to NBC Sports. The hearing will allow Brady to present any new information that may convince Goodell to reduce or toss the suspension. His argument, according to reports, is three-fold:

1. Only the commissioner has the authority to impose discipline under the collective bargaining agreement

2. The four-game suspension "is grossly inconsistent with the League's prior disciplinary treatment of similar alleged conduct," representing a change in sanctions forbidden by the CBA

3. The discipline is based solely on the league-sanctioned report by Wells "which contains insufficient evidence to find that Mr. Brady committed any violation of NFL rules"

A crowd surrounded the NYC-based headquarters, holding signs that read "FREE BRADY" on the front and "DEFLATE THIS" with a drawing of Super Bowl trophies on the back.  

Brady's agent, Donald Yee, had vowed an appeal at the time of the decision, calling NFL Executive President's Tony Vincent's decision "ridiculous."

"In my opinion, this outcome was pre-determined; there was no fairness in the Wells investigation whatsoever," Yee said. "There is no evidence that Tom directed footballs be set at pressures below the allowable limits. In fact, the evidence shows Tom clearly emphasized that footballs be set at pressures within the rules. Tom also cooperated with the investigation and answered every question presented to him.

"The Wells Report presents significant evidence, however, that the NFL lacks standards or protocols with respect to its handling of footballs prior to games; this is not the fault of Tom or the Patriots."

Should Brady lose the appeal, he won't play until Oct. 18, which happens to be a rematch against the Colts.