The NFL Players Association filed an appeal on the behalf of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on Thursday after he was suspended four games without pay for his role in the Deflategate scandal.
The NFLPA and Brady had until Thursday to file the appeal of the suspension, which came after attorney Ted Wells released his report on his investigation into the deflated footballs used by the Patriots in the AFC championship game.
"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 NFLPA said in its statement.
"If Ted Wells and the NFL believe, as their public comments stated, that the evidence in their report is 'direct' and 'inculpatory,' then they should be confident enough to present their case before someone who is truly independent."
Earlier this week, Brady’s agent, Don Yee, called the suspension “ridiculous” and announced that an appeal would be forthcoming. Now that the appeal has been filed, the NFL is obligated to hear it within 10 days.
As a result of the Wells Report's findings, Brady was suspended without pay for the first four games of this upcoming season by the NFL, the Patriots were fined $1 million and the team will lose a first-round draft pick in 2016 and its fourth-round draft pick in 2017. The Patriots have yet to say if they are appealing their penalty.
Wells' 243-page report released last week said it was “more probable than not” Brady knew that two members of the Patriots' locker-room staff were deflating footballs during the AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.
The report also said the Patriots and Brady were less than cooperative during the investigation, refusing to make personnel available for follow-up interviews. Brady did not make his phone records available for review to see if he communicated with the two staff members.
If Brady’s appeal is rejected, he would miss the Thursday-night season opener on Sept. 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, a road game against the Buffalo Bills, a Sept. 27 home contest with the Jacksonville Jaguars and a game against the Cowboys in Dallas following a bye week.
Brady would be eligible to play Oct. 18 against the Colts, who went to the league to complain about the possibility of Brady using deflated footballs.
- Scooby Axson