5:15pm: The two sides were moving close to a one-game suspension settlement, but Brady demanded that the records be sealed and the NFL refused, according to Judy Battista of NFL.com (via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com on Twitter).
NFLPA Assistant Executive Director George Atallah (on Twitter) strongly denies that any settlement was close to being reached. Albert Breer of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears that the two sides were never close.
The NFLPA’s federal court filing is slated to come tomorrow and it will be filed in Minnesota, Rapoport tweets.
5:05pm: The Patriots released a statement on the matter:
“We are extremely disappointed in today’s ruling by Commissioner Goodell. We cannot comprehend the league’s position in this matter. Most would agree that the penalties levied originally were excessive and unprecedented, especially in light of the fact that the league has no hard evidence of wrongdoing. We continue to unequivocally believe in and support Tom Brady. We also believe that the laws of science continue to underscore the folly of this entire ordeal. Given all of this, it is incomprehensible as to why the league is attempting to destroy the reputation of one of its greatest players and representatives.”
4:43pm: The NFLPA officially announced that it will appeal the decision. Their full statement is reprinted below.
The Commissioner’s ruling today did nothing to address the legal deficiencies of due process. The NFL remains stuck with the following facts:
- The NFL had no policy that applied to players
- The NFL provided no notice of any such policy or potential discipline to players;
- The NFL resorted to a nebulous standard of “general awareness” to predicate a legally unjustified punishment;
- The NFL had no procedures in place until two days ago to test air pressure in footballs; and
- The NFL violated the plain meaning of the collective bargaining agreement.
- The fact that the NFL would resort to basing a suspension on a smoke screen of irrelevant text messages instead of admitting that they have all of the phone records they asked for is a new low, even for them, but it does nothing to correct their errors.
The NFLPA will appeal this outrageous decision on behalf of Tom Brady.
3:57pm: Brady’s agent, Don Yee, issued a strongly-worded statement on the matter. The statement is reprinted below, courtesy of ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Facebook:
“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.
The appeal process was a sham, resulting in the Commissioner rubber-stamping his own decision. For example, the Wells investigative team was given over 100 days to conduct its investigation. Just days prior to the appeal hearing, we were notified that we would only have four hours to present a defense; therefore, we didn’t have enough time to examine important witnesses. Likewise, it was represented to the public that the Wells team was ‘independent’; however, when we requested documents from Wells, our request was rejected on the basis of privilege. We therefore had no idea as to what Wells found from other witnesses, nor did we know what those other witnesses said.
These are just two examples of how the Commissioner failed to ensure a fair process.
Additionally, the science in the Wells Report was junk. It has been thoroughly discredited by independent third parties.
Finally, as to the issue of cooperation, we presented the Commissioner with an unprecedented amount of electronic data, all of which is incontrovertible. I do not think that any private citizen would have agreed to provide anyone with the amount of information that Tom was willing to reveal to the Commissioner. Tom was completely transparent. All of the electronic information was ignored; we don’t know why. The extent to which Tom opened up his private life to the Commissioner will become clear in the coming days.
The Commissioner’s decision and discipline has no precedent in all of NFL history. His decision alters the competitive balance of the upcoming season. The decision is wrong and has no basis, and it diminishes the integrity of the game.”
3:48pm: Tom Brady has authorized the NFLPA to appeal his case in federal court, a source tells Jim Trotter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Just prior to that, the NFL asked a federal court to confirm Brady’s suspension, Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg News tweets. The league filed its complaint in Manhattan.
Earlier today, the league announced that commissioner/arbitrator Roger Goodell has upheld Brady‘s full four-game suspension. The statement described that Brady actually destroyed his cell phone in order to hide incriminating evidence from NFL