Tom Brady‘s agent issued a statement to reporters stating, in part, that the quarterback will appeal the suspension handed to him earlier today. Here is the statement in its entirety, courtesy of ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (via Facebook):
“The discipline is ridiculous and has no legitimate basis. In my opinion, this outcome was pre-determined; there was no fairness in the Wells investigation whatsoever. 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.
The report also presents significant evidence the NFL participated with the Colts in some type of pre-AFC Championship Game planning regarding the footballs. This fact may raise serious questions about the integrity of the games we view on Sundays. We will appeal, and if the hearing officer is completely independent and neutral, I am very confident the Wells Report will be exposed as an incredibly frail exercise in fact-finding and logic.
The NFL has a well-documented history of making poor disciplinary decisions that often are overturned when truly independent and neutral judges or arbitrators preside, and a former federal judge has found the commissioner has abused his discretion in the past, so this outcome does not surprise me. Sadly, today’s decision diminishes the NFL as it tells its fans, players and coaches that the games on the field don’t count as much as the games played on Park Avenue.”
The news, of course, does not come as a great surprise. Brady is well within his rights to appeal the decision and cannot be punished further for presenting his case. With the help of the NFLPA, Brady will likely cite the lack of hard evidence against him as a primary reason why he should have the suspension lowered or rescinded. Brady could also cite precedent as a reason why he is being penalized to harshly.
Prior to the suspension being announced, Albert Breer of NFL.com (on Twitter) noted that Saints defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove was suspended eight games for his obstruction in Bountygate, but he later had that penalty reduced to two games. Because of that, Breer had estimated a two-game suspension for Brady. After an appeal, Brady could very well wind up serving less than a four-game suspension.