Brady and NFL prepare to battle over 'Deflategate' suspension

Tue May 12, 2015 9:30pm EDT
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By Steve Ginsburg and Steve Keating

(Reuters) - The National Football League's hardline stance on Tom Brady and his role in "Deflategate" sparked predictions on Tuesday that the star quarterback could see his four-game suspension reduced through an appeal.

The severity of the punishment for the New England Patriots star combined with a spate of overturned NFL sanctions bode well for Brady in the appeals process, experts said.

The four-time Super Bowl champion and one of the league's marquee players has said he will appeal the penalty, handed down on Monday for his part in deflating footballs for the AFC title game in January.

The appeal, which must be lodged by Thursday at 5 p.m. ET (2100 GMT), would follow a flurry of questions about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's handling of other high-profile cases last season.

Brady's four-game suspension is seen as harsh by many, who note it is the same as what is handed to first time offenders violating the league's rules on performance-enhancing drugs, and double the number of games Goodell initially gave Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice for a domestic violence incident.

The league later changed Rice's punishment to an indefinite suspension of the running back, who knocked out his wife in a New Jersey elevator, only to have that decision turned aside on appeal.

"The NFL has typically won most of the appeals, but they're on a bit of a losing streak lately," said Robert Boland, a former NFL agent and currently professor of sports management at New York University's Tisch Center.

Brady's failure to cooperate with the investigation - one of the reasons cited in the penalty - might not stand up on appeal, Boland added.   Continued...

A fan wearing a souvenir t-shirt from Super Bowl XLIX and listing New England Patriots players including quarterback Tom Brady waits in line to hear Brady speak at Salem State University in Salem, Massachusetts, United States May 7, 2015.  REUTERS/Brian Snyder - RTX1C136