Tom Brady Appeal Hearing Gets Underway

The long-anticipated appeal hearing for Tom Brady‘s suspension gets underway this morning. Brady, commissioner Roger Goodell, and several other key players from the NFL and NFLPA arrived today in advance of the session, which was scheduled to begin at 9:30am eastern time.

Brady and the NFLPA will make the case that the quarterback’s four-game suspension should be reduced or eliminated altogether. However, as a league source tells Ian Rapoport of (Twitter link), if Brady says the same thing during his appeal hearing that he did to DeflateGate investigator Ted Wells, his ban won’t change.

Goodell, who appointed himself the arbitrator for the hearing, turned down an NFLPA request to recuse himself, in part because he wants to look Brady in the eye, as he put it. Of course, the former MVP’s comments won’t be the only factor in the union’s case — witnesses central to the AEI report that criticized the Wells report are expected to speak on behalf of the NFLPA.

Still, whereas the AEI report questioned the Wells report’s findings, Brady will have to prove his innocence to get his penalty reduced, tweets Albert Breer of the NFL Network. As Tom Pelissero of USA Today observes (via Twitter), the key question for Brady will be whether he can explain the 57-minute conversation he had on the phone with Pats employee John Jastremski after the initial story broke following the AFC Championship game.

Although the appeal hearing is beginning today, there’s no guarantee it will last just one day, and even if it wraps up by this evening, a decision won’t come immediately. For comparison’s sake, Greg Hardy‘s appeal hearing for his 10-game suspension took place in late May, and arbitrator Harold Henderson has yet to announce his ruling, several weeks later.

Additionally, if Brady and the NFLPA don’t agree with the outcome of this appeal, it’s very possible – perhaps even likely – that they file a lawsuit and take the case to court, challenging Goodell’s involvement in the process. With about two and a half months until the regular season gets underway, the saga could conceivably stretch through the rest of the offseason.

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28 comments on “Tom Brady Appeal Hearing Gets Underway

  1. Dumb

    …..what gave you that idea?

  2. pfk2

    Deflateriots have no class. I hope they increase Tom tom the cheater Bradys ban. GUILTY!

    • odyss

      It must be tough seeing your favorite team lose all the time.

  3. Jesse the body

    Here we go…. Love to see it stick. Tired of all the whining already.

    • odyss

      You had a typo in your post here it is corrected:

      “Here we go…. Love to see it stick. Tired of all the winning already”

      Much more accurate.

  4. Free Brady

    Mob rules. Speculations at best.

  5. Rich

    Once again an NFL source says, you would think by now they’d keep their mouths shut.

  6. “…the AEI report simply questioned the league’s investigation process…” um that’s absolutely untrue. The AEI eviscerated the Wells Report’s scientific analysis of the data and concluded that the Patriots more than likely did not tamper with the footballs but that it was purely atmospheric conditions. Furthermore, AEI said they could not reproduce the results Exponent showed using the methodology they claimed they used which further muddies the waters.

    • Luke Adams

      I was trying to paraphrase Breer’s tweet and was perhaps a bit reductive, so I’ve reworded. The point is that the AEI report wasn’t attempting to prove Brady’s innocence — it was highlighting the shortcomings and flaws of the Wells report.

      • Everything, absolutely everything in this whole mess relies on whether or not the balls were tampered with. If the scientific evidence points to the fact that there wasn’t tampering, and furthermore that the Wells report used bad math and bad science to “prove” there was, is that not more than enough evidence to conclude he is innocent?

        The AEI Report didn’t attempt to prove Brady’s innocence, and that certainly wasn’t the intention they set out to prove when the began their own analysis, but they stumbled upon the fact that no tampering occurred. Therefore, Brady is innocent and Albert Breer is wrong (probably trying to save face from his own wrong conclusions). Circumstantial evidence means nothing if no tampering occurred.

        • Luke Adams

          You’re not wrong, though I don’t think the NFL will see it that way. Honestly, I think “Brady has to prove his innocence” basically equates to “Brady has to give up the phone records he didn’t give up the first time,” and the NFL won’t be satisfied if he doesn’t do that. When it comes to the investigation, the suspension, and the appeal, the league is playing by its own rules — those rules could change if the case goes to court.

          • Can you repeat that “You’re not wrong” part to all the patriots haters? thanks :)

            You’re right too the NFL is playing by it’s own rules, except that it was validated in doing so based on the assumption the science in the Wells report was correct. Since it is not, I think we’re in uncharted territory here. Although Goodell showing himself to be level-headed, even-handed, and fair after being slapped three times in each of the last player suspension cases (BountyGate, Rice, AP) for being the exact opposite of that is also highly unlikely.

        • Zach

          You claims that the scientific evidence points to the fact that there was no tampering is completely wrong. Belichick did not become proficient in fluid mechanics in a week, so you shouldn’t listen to his scientific explanations.

          Even Neil DeGrasse Tyson showed that the scientific evidence points to the balls being tampered with. But like he said, the Patriots would have won in the vacuum of space, so why does it matter?

    • Zach

      I will admit that the Wells report did not discus the science very well, but several respected scientists have presented their math and have even done experiments to show that the atmospheric conditions alone could not have caused the documented amount of deflation. Instead of trying to come up with excuses, why not just say, “Yeah, Brady did it, but who really cares?”

  7. “Brady will have to prove his innocence to get his penalty reduced” – since when do you have to prove innocence? It’s on the accuser to prove guilt, which the Wells Report tries, but fails to do. Their “science” that they try and use to say Brady is guilty was faulty at best, as proven by the AEI report. Science says that the deflation results were well within the scientific realm of possibilities, and that if anything the Colts’ balls were overinflated (likely due to the fact that they sat inside for all of halftime before being measured, which allowed them to reinflate). I don’t understand all of this talk of “proving innocence.” Since when is that the case? They were unable to definitively prove his guilt, yet he’s still considered guilty? This whole thing is ridiculous.

    • Luke Adams

      Well, the NFL’s “court of law” is different from the one in the outside world. Based on their investigation, Ted Wells – and, subsequently, the league – concluded that it was more likely than not that Brady was involved in deflating footballs. You can argue that that conclusion was the wrong one, having been based on a flawed investigation and report. But once the league made that decision and handed down the suspension, the onus shifted to Brady and the NFLPA to make the case that the league was wrong.

      Not saying that really makes sense, or that it’s the way it should be, but the CBA gives the NFL the leeway to operate that way.

  8. I think Goodell put all of his hope and trust into Ted Wells. Now that Wells’ report is being blown apart by multiple sources, Roger should have no choice but to exonerate Brady. He was cooperative in an entire day of interviewing, and felt giving up his personal phone went too far. Hard to blame the guy after reading that 200-something page excuse for an independent investigation.

  9. aelarsen

    espn sucks…nothing short of a mob hit done on brady….still have not corrected the erroneous 2 psi stories…do not let them in the stadium …let them stay in the parking lot and deal with angry pats fans
    espn is the biggest liar in this whole mess

  10. Ryan

    I hate the Patriots but to let the NFL get away with suspending someone they haven’t proved as guilty is a mistake. If we let it happen to the Pats it’ll happen to the players on your team one day too. I find it absurd that this article states if Brady says the same things he has all along he won’t be exanerated. Really? He has to lie now in order for the NFL to fathom it’s the Truth? I’d just go to court and if the refuse to hear it Tom Brady should threaten Goodell he will never play again. That will change the NFL’s minds real quick. They make too much money off the best QB in the game.

    • Ryan

      He doesn’t have to lie, but he could atleast cooperate, and hand over all of the text messages that were asked of him in the first place. He is mentioned in texts that basically say he wanted the balls to be deflated (not to mention the memorabilia). If Tom isn’t guilty, he’s sure got love for his equipment manager.

    • Brian

      You guys just don’t get it do you? You are just hanging on this text thing. They have every text he sent to to 2 ball boys. You know how texts work right? What other people could he be texting that would be relavent. Everyone want to talk about their rights but then spit on someone else’s.

  11. Rob M

    Ya cheated again.. and got caught. Pats fans are blinded with the fact the team already accepted their punishment. Tommy us dirty and you all know it…stop lying to yourselves and hide behind “science” that can always be manipulated. He denied the REAL chance to clear his name, but refused to cooperate and divulge information when given the chance.

    • odyss

      Cheated again. perhaps you can give us the pages where there has been definitive proof of a rules violation. It would make Goodell’s job easier and since you know exactly where that evidence is, why don’t you cooperate?

      • Chris S

        What are you talking about, pages?

        Other teams have been complaining about the Pats balls being underinflated and then they were caught. The fact the Wells report even took place was a little silly, but if Brady was not involved then he could have cooperated and ended his involvement pretty early.

        Again what pages are you talking about? Because no one cares about the Wells report.

  12. Dssturk56

    I hope they take it to court. The NFL does not have subpoena ability to force Tom Brady to surrender his cell phone but the court’s do. Then any information the NFL could not get will be available. If he refuses Tommy Terrific could be in worse trouble. Lol.

  13. john doe

    Goodell never imagined that two independent studies would be completed and show that the Wells report is junk science. These two studies can’t be ignored. If Goodell is smart he will extricate himself as quickly as possible because the leagues case is deteriorating by the hour. If the phone are turned over and nothing found which I expect its over. At the very least TB get’s an injunction to play game one and it drags out. In court the wells report is smashed and five million dollars go down the drain.

    • Jake

      Dear John Doe – diehard tb fan . This could have been a slam dunk case if tb had just released his text messages. What does he have to hide? Is he a cross dresser or something to that degree? Another pretty boy /celebrity thinks he special. Be a man and be forthright. The TRUTH sells.

  14. Ethics

    People have been put on death row with less circumstantial evadience. Common sense , Bradys’ lying, dening, lack of cooperation, the cell phone calls and text messages is more than enough to ban him for life from the NFL. I hate liars and cheats!!!!

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