The NFL Players Association has officially published the appeal letter it sent to the NFL on behalf of Tom Brady, making it available through the union’s website. Within the letter, the NFLPA argues that the league violated the CBA by allowing league executive Troy Vincent to hand a four-game suspension to Brady, since he is not authorized to impose discipline. The union added that it plans to call Vincent and commissioner Roger Goodell as witnesses for its appeal, which means – according to the NFLPA – the case should be arbitrated by someone without close ties to the NFL.
As we prepare for the next stage of this contentious process, let’s round up the latest items on DeflateGate and Brady’s appeal….
- Goodell will likely interview suspended Patriots employees John Jastremski and Jim McNally as witnesses for Brady’s appeal, per Ed Werder of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
- After Ted Wells was given a blank check and no deadline for his DeflateGate report by Goodell and the league, it will be difficult for the commissioner to disregard that report and conclude that its conclusions are inaccurate, writes Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Florio points out that Goodell may have appointed himself as the arbitrator in this case because it avoids putting the league in a position where another arbitrator “overturns or undermines” the Wells report, embarrassing the NFL.
- Speaking of Wells, his statements to Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post (Twitter links) about the timeline of his investigation contradict information in the report itself, as Florio explains in a separate PFT piece.
- Goodell’s decision to hear Brady’s appeal himself “virtually assures” that it will wind up as a court case, tweets Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. Florio tweets that a lawsuit will likely be filed soon in an effort to get Goodell to step aside as arbitrator.
- Ben Volin of the Boston Globe breaks down the Patriots’ rebuttal to the Wells report, writing that it makes some good points but falls short in answering a few crucial questions.