Tom Brady To Appeal Deflategate Suspension, Agent Promises, And The Patriots Quarterback Might Have A Shot
The hammer has been brought down, and Tom Brady has been suspended for four games for his alleged role in Deflategate. Brady is set to miss next season's games against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Dallas Cowboys. The New England Patriots were also fined $1 million, and two draft picks for 2016 and 2017 were taken away. But the issue of whether or not Brady knew the Patriots' footballs used in last year's AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts were deflated isn't over yet, as there is already talk of Brady appealing the Deflategate penalty.
Soon after the NFL passed down its decision, Brady's agent Don Yee released a statement condemning the ruling as "ridiculous" and said the decision had "no legitimate basis." Yee claimed the Wells report offered no evidence that Brady directed the footballs to be deflated outside of NFL regulations. Yee said Brady would appeal the NFL's decision and said they were confident in their chances in removing the penalty.
We will appeal, and if the hearing officer is completely independent and neutral, I am very confident the Wells Report will be exposed as an incredibly frail exercise in fact-finding and logic. The NFL has a well-documented history of making poor disciplinary decisions that often are overturned when truly independent and neutral judges or arbitrators preside, and a former federal judge has found the commissioner has abused his discretion in the past, so this outcome does not surprise me.
So what are Brady's chances of an appeal? The Wells report never directly stated Brady was involved in Deflategate. Instead, the implication came from text messages between equipment managers Jim McNally and John Jastremski, who were suspended indefinitely for their roles in tampering with the footballs. As Bleacher Report's Matt Fitzgerald said, that could be a significant enough argument to at least reduce Brady's penalty by one or two games.
And Yee wasn't too off when he pointed to a history of NFL decisions being reversed on appeal. In 2012, Seattle Seahawks' Richard Sherman won his appeal of a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's drug policy by claiming his urine specimen was mishandled. Last November, Ray Rice, who was suspended indefinitely after a second video emerged of the Baltimore Ravens player slugging his girlfriend in an elevator, won his appeal to allow him to return to the league. In February, Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings won his appeal to overturn his indefinite suspension after successfully arguing the NFL had promised to allow him to return after he resolved his child abuse case.
But successful appeals against the NFL are definitely the exception, not the norm. Should Brady's four-game suspension hold up, that would set up an exciting face-off between the Patriots and the Colts, who would be the Patriots' fifth matchup of the season. If you remember, the Colts were on the other side of the field during that Deflategate game, and that would be a great opportunity for Brady, the NFL's golden child, to make a great comeback fit for NFL legends.
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