In an expected move, the NFLPA, has formally requested NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recuse himself from hearing and ruling upon New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s appeal of a four-game suspension handed down as a result of the league’s investigation into illegally deflated Patriots footballs.
Brady’s punishment was handed down, not by Goodell, but by NFL executive vice president of football operations, Troy Vincent. Goodell then appointed himself as the league official in charge of hearing Brady’s appeal. The league has 10 days from its filing, which means that they must meet with Brady no later than May 24.
“The NFLPA has formally requested that Commissioner Roger Goodell recuse himself as the arbitrator in Tom Brady’s disciplinary appeal. Given a process that has contained procedural violations of our collective bargaining agreement, the Commissioner’s role as a central witness in the appeal hearing and his evident partiality with respect to the Wells report, the Commissioner must designate a neutral party to serve as an arbitrator in this matter. The players also believe that the Commissioner’s history of inconsistently issuing discipline against our players makes him ill-suited to hear this appeal in a fair-minded manner.
“If the NFL believes the Ted Wells report has credibility because it is independent, then the NFL should embrace our request for an independent review.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Patriots owner Bob Kraft announced that he will not seek an appeal of the discipline handed down to the team as part of the scandal. The Patriots were docked a Round 1 draft pick in 2016, a Round 4 draft pick in 2017 and were handed a $1 million fine. Brady’s appeal, however, will continue.
It’s not likely that the NFLPA will get what they are asking for. It seems clear that Goodell would like to meet with, talk to and rule on Brady’s appeal. It’s widely believed that Brady’s punishment will be decreased. That, at least, should somewhat satisfy a currently furious players’ union.
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