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(Reuters) - The National Football League has rejected a request from the players union that Commissioner Roger Goodell remove himself from Tom Brady's appeal of his four-game suspension over the "Deflategate" scandal, ESPN reported on Friday, but the league disputed the report.
Brady, the star quarterback for the New England Patriots, received the suspension for knowing about a scheme to deflate footballs in the AFC championship game last January.
A union official told Reuters Goodell refused to recuse himself but later said he was "mistaken" and had not received an official letter on the matter. In an email to Reuters, the NFL said the reports were not true and that, "No decision has been made on the union’s request."
ESPN reported the league had rejected a request from the NFL Players Association to have Goodell remove himself from the appeal.
The league suspended Brady for the first four games of next season, fined the club a record $1 million and forced the Patriots to relinquish 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.
Reporting by Steve Ginsburg in Washington; Editing by Sandra Maler and Eric Beech