NFL players union wants Goodell to testify in Brady appeal

Fri May 15, 2015 5:41pm EDT
 
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By Steve Ginsburg

(Reuters) - The NFL players union said its plans to call Commissioner Roger Goodell as a witness during the appeal of the four-game suspension handed to New England Patriots star Tom Brady for his role in the "Deflategate" scandal disqualifies Goodell from hearing the case.

In a letter to the league released on Friday outlining the grounds for the appeal, the union also said it will seek testimony from NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent, who issued the penalty to Brady.

Goodell announced late Thursday he will preside over Brady's appeal, rejecting the NFLPA's request that an independent arbitrator hear the case because "neither Commissioner Goodell nor anyone with close ties to the NFL can serve as arbitrator in Mr. Brady's appeal under governing legal standards."

Brady was slapped with a four-game suspension, and the Patriots were fined a record $1 million and forced to surrender two draft picks after an investigator hired by the NFL determined the club purposely deflated the footballs in the AFC title game.

The Patriots, one of the league's most high-profile teams, and Brady, one of its top stars, have been at odds with the front-office of the most-popular U.S. sports league, which is looking to recover from a domestic abuse controversy that has engulfed the NFL for much of the last year.

Tom DePaso, the NFLPA general counsel who wrote the appeal letter, argued that Brady's punishment is "grossly inconsistent" with the NFL's prior penalties for comparable conduct.

He added that Goodell, not Vincent, is the only one who can punish Brady under the terms of the labor agreement.

"No player in the history of the NFL has ever   Continued...

 
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks to the media before Super Bowl XLIX in Phoenix, Arizona January 30, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson