JUNE 2, 1:33pm: Goodell has now made it official, informing the NFLPA that he’ll hear Brady’s appeal, and won’t recuse himself, per Garafolo (Twitter links). The commissioner insists that his “mind is open” on the case, and he hasn’t pre-judged Brady.
MAY 22, 4:01pm: Despite several other writers confirming La Canfora’s report, NFLPA spokesman Greg Aiello says no final decision has been made on the union’s request for Goodell to recuse himself, tweets Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports. La Canfora tweets that while technically Goodell himself didn’t reject the NFLPA’s request, NFL lawyers filed papers saying their position is that the commissioner will hear Brady’s appeal.
3:15pm: The NFL has denied the NFL Players Association’s request for commissioner Roger Goodell to recuse himself from the union’s appeal of Tom Brady‘s four-game suspension, reports Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
Following the NFLPA’s announcements that it had officially filed an appeal on behalf of Brady, Goodell appointed himself as the arbitrator in the case. The union felt this was a conflict of interest, particularly since the NFLPA’s counsel intended to call the commissioner as a witness during the appeal process. However, it never appeared likely that Goodell would assent to the union’s request to remove himself from the process, since the league’s CBA allows him to serve as the arbitrator.
As La Canfora observes (via Twitter), Goodell staying on as arbitrator in Brady’s appeal makes it more likely that the case will eventually go to court, unless of course the commissioner overturns the suspension. Goodell strongly hinted at the conclusion of this week’s owner’s meetings in San Francisco that the only thing that would make him reconsider the four-game ban handed down by Troy Vincent would be if Brady brings forth new information on the case — in other words, if he surrenders his emails and text messages.
No date has been set yet for Brady’s appeal hearing.