Rob Carr/Getty Images
by Zach Johnson | Thu., Jul. 30, 2015 6:15 AM
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Tom Brady wants to play. The NFL Players Association and the New England Patriots quarterback have filed a federal lawsuit to remove Brady's four-game suspension for his role in the "Deflategate" scandal.
One day after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell rejected Brady's appeal, the 37-year-old four-time Super Bowl champion posted a 507-word statement on Facebook, telling fans: "I did nothing wrong." Additionally, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft publicly supported the three-time Super Bowl MVP after Goodell rejected Brady's appeal, saying, "I was wrong to put my faith in the league."
"It is completely incomprehensible to me that the league continues to take steps to disparage one of its all-time great players, and a man for whom I have the utmost respect," Kraft said in defense of his star quarterback. "I have come to the conclusion that this was never about doing what was fair and just."
Since Brady lost his appeal, he isn't expected to return to the field until Oct. 18.
Just before the courts closed in Minnesota Wednesday, the NFL Players Association asked U.S. District Judge David Doty to either overturn Brady's four-game suspension or put it on hold until the case can be heard. The union asked Doty to revoke the suspension before Sept. 4, which would allow Brady to attend practice before the team's Sept. 10 season-opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In the 54-page filing, the NFLPA claimed the NFL has improperly imposed penalties for equipment violations, which would usually result in a nominal fine. "Thumbing its nose at the Peterson order, Commissioner Goodell's Award upholds Brady's four-game suspension in its entirety despite the undisputed arbitration record of several egregious notice defects: Brady had no notice of the disciplinary standards that would be applied to him; no notice of the disciplinary policies that would be applied; and no notice of the potential penalties. In fact, the NFL collectively bargained over the punishments (fines, not suspensions) for alleged equipment tampering by players-including those designed to gain a competitive advantage-and was not free to disregard that CBA bargain and subject Brady to other standards, policies, and penalties without any notice at all," it claimed.
The suit, obtained by E! News, questioned Goodell's impartiality: "Although the NFLPA agreed that the commissioner or his designee could serve as the arbitrator for ordinary Article 46 disciplinary appeals, the NFLPA did not agree that the commissioner could do so under circumstances where, as here, the commissioners own conduct is at issue. Accordingly, in two recent prior arbitrations in which the commissioner's own conduct and statements were at issue—Bounty and Ray Rice—even commissioner Goodell concluded that he had to recuse himself."
Additionally, the suit claimed the sports star should have received advance notice of disciplinary action. "Brady had no notice of the disciplinary standards that would be applied and no notice of the potential penalties," it claimed.
In Wednesday's Facebook post, Brady maintained that he, "nor any equipment person, did anything of which we have been accused."
"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," he wrote. "Despite submitting to hours of testimony over the past 6 months, it is disappointing that the Commissioner upheld my suspension based upon a standard that it was 'probable' that I was 'generally aware' of misconduct."
—Reporting by Lindsay Good
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