Patriots' star Brady appeals 4-game 'Deflategate' suspension
By Steve Ginsburg
(Reuters) - New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on Thursday formally appealed a four-game suspension for his role in "Deflategate" after his team, one of America's most high-profile sports franchises, delivered a blistering rebuttal of an NFL investigation into the matter.
National Football Commissioner Roger Goodell later said he would personally hear Brady's appeal, overruling the league's players union, which called for an independent arbitrator to hear the case when it filed the appeal on Brady's behalf.
"Given the NFL's history of inconsistency and arbitrary decisions in disciplinary matters, it is only fair that a neutral arbitrator hear this appeal," the union said in a statement announcing Brady's move.
League spokesman Brian McCarthy said Goodell would act on the appeal "in accordance with the process agreed upon with the NFL Players Association in the 2011 collective bargaining agreement."
Brady's appeal pits the NFL's most popular player against the most profitable sports league in the United States at a time when it is reeling from criticism over its handling of players involved with domestic violence and a concussion settlement for retired players that could ultimately cost $1 billion.
The league suspended Brady without pay for the first four games of next season, fined the club a record $1 million, and forced the Patriots to give up two draft choices for purposely deflating footballs used in the team's 45-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts that put it into the Super Bowl.
In a website created to dispute the investigation findings, the Patriots said the report's conclusions were "incomplete, incorrect and lack context."
Two days after independent investigator Ted Wells steadfastly defended his conclusions implicating Brady and two Patriots employees in the scheme, the team fired back. Continued...