NFL Players Association files Tom Brady appeal in Minnesota federal court
The NFL Players Association filed an appeal Wednesday on behalf of Tom Brady in US District Court in Minnesota, hoping to vacate the New England Patriots star`s four-game "Deflate-gate" ban.
Washington: The NFL Players Association filed an appeal Wednesday on behalf of Tom Brady in US District Court in Minnesota, hoping to vacate the New England Patriots star`s four-game "Deflate-gate" ban.
The legal move follows NFL commissioner Roger Goodell`s decision Tuesday to uphold the four-game ban he imposed upon the four-time Super Bowl champion quarterback for likely knowing Patriots employees had underinflated footballs in a playoff game last January, giving him and his offensive unit an edge in gripping, grabbing and holding the ball.
Brady maintained his innocence in a Facebook statement Wednesday and was backed by Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
The union move could set up a legal fight in federal court that delays the start of Brady`s suspension, now set for the start of the season in September.
The case, however, was not assigned to David Doty, the Minnesota federal court judge who has several times ruled in favor of players in legal fights with the NFL.
The union based its appeal on several issues, including no direct evidence in the report by investigator Ted Wells. While Goodell cited Brady destroying his cellphone as a way of destroying evidence, he also said Brady had a "general awareness" of the matter, what the union called a justification for an "absurd and unprecedented punishment."
A policy in the union contract with the NFL provides only for fines, not bans, regarding equipment tampering, according to the union, which says the policy applied to Brady only applies to teams and executives, not players.
The union called evidence of obstruction or non-cooperation "paper-thin" and noted no player in NFL history has served a ban for obstruction or non-cooperation.
The union also claims Goodell violated procedures for disciplinary hearings when it heard Brady`s appeal in the matter last month.