Goodell Steps Way Out of Bounds
The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) has filed suit in federal court against the NFL in an attempt to overturn Tom Brady’s four-game suspension, which was upheld by league overlord Roger "Ginger Balls" Goodell earlier this week.
The NFLPA cites several reasons for reversing Goodell's "outrageous decision" and has multiple grievances against the commissioner himself. Their appeal points to many violations of the CBA during the league's investigation into the Deflategate controversy and in the suspensions, penalties, and fines handed down afterward. They argue that there simply was no precedent or policy that could be applied to this situation.
The NFL’s investigative process was fundamentally unfair, as the impartiality of attorney Ted Wells, appointed by the league itself as lead investigator, was obviously in question. The NFLPA argues that the Wells report has no direct, hard evidence of Brady’s involvement with deflating the footballs in anyway and that the punishment was both unprecedented and unjustified.
In a statement put out by the NFL, they argue that Brady's destruction of his old cell phone indicates his guilt in not only failing to cooperate with the investigation but in scheming to altering the footballs used in the first half of the AFC Championship game this past January.
Brady released his own statement on Wednesday, defending himself against accusations of cheating and covering it up:
"The fact is that neither I, nor any equipment person, did anything of which we have been accused…As a member of a union, I was under no obligation to set a new precedent going forward, nor was I made aware at any time during Mr. Wells' investigation that failing to subject my cell phone to investigation would result in ANY discipline."
"I respect the Commissioners' authority, but he also has to respect the CBA and my rights as a private citizen. I will not allow my unfair discipline to become precedent for other NFL players without a fight."
The New England Patriots also released a statement in support of their star quarterback and players' rights to due process.
Though the NFLPA attempted to have their appeal heard by Judge David Doty in Minnesota, the NFL beat them to the punch and the case will be heard in a Southern District of New York court in Manhattan. All signs point toward an uphill battle for Brady and the players' union, but like he said, they got to keep fighting if they want to win.