In a letter from the NFL Players Association to NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent officially appealing the four-game suspension of New England quarterback Tom Brady for his role in the Deflategate scandal, the NFLPA said that Vincent had no authority to impose the ban.
The NFLPA laid out three reasons why Brady’s suspension should be lifted.
The NFLPA says that only NFL commissioner Roger Goodell can decide and impose the discipline and wants to know why Goodell gave Vincent the authority to do so. The NFLPA cited a rule in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement giving Goodell the power to discipline players.
“You have no authority to impose discipline on Mr. Brady under the CBA, and such discipline must therefore be set aside,” the letter to Vincent said.
The union says that Brady’s suspension fails to adhere to a requirement that he receive “fair and consistent treatment" and claims that the four-game ban is inconsistent with other punishment for similar offenses with teams or players tampering with game balls or other equipment.
"Indeed, no player in the history of the NFL has ever received anything approaching this level of discipline for similar behavior—a change in sanctions squarely forbidden by the CBA and the law of the shop," the letter reads.
The NFLPA also took issue with Ted Wells' investigatory report, which said that Brady was “generally aware of” the deflation of footballs and that it was “more probable than not” knew about the activities of two Patriots employees who were involved in deflating footballs before the AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.
Goodell and Vincent will be called as witnesses during the appeal, according to the union. The NFLPA wants Goodell to recuse himself and assign an impartial arbitrator to oversee the proceedings, as was the case when former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice appealed his suspension.
Judge Barbara Jones threw out Rice’s indefinite suspension in December, saying that Rice did not lie to or mislead Goodell when the commissioner questioned him about the events surrounding Rice hitting his then-fiancee and knocking her unconscious in an Atlantic City, N.J., hotel elevator in February 2014.
In the NFLPA's letter regarding Brady's suspension, the union also questions how Vincent became aware of the Colts' complaints about the deflated balls, saying the whole investigation may have been a “sting operation” trying to implicate Brady and the Patriots.
- Scooby Axson