Brady appeals suspension in 'Deflategate'

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Tom Brady's Inflated Chances of Winning a Deflategate Appeal

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -- Tom Brady appealed his four-game suspension for his role in using deflated footballs during the AFC championship game, and the players union urged Commissioner Roger Goodell to appoint a neutral arbitrator to hear the case.

The expected appeal was filed by the NFL Players Association on Thursday about an hour before a 5 p.m. Eastern deadline. The league's collective bargaining agreement stipulates that it will be decided by Goodell or a person he designates.

"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 union said in a news release.

The union did not detail specifics of the appeal in its release.

The NFL announced the quarterback's suspension on Monday, also fining the New England Patriots $1 million and taking away two draft picks.

Brady's appeal only deals with the suspension and must be heard within 10 days. The team has not said if it will appeal its penalties before a deadline May 21. The lost draft picks include a first-round draft pick next year and a fourth-rounder in 2017.

League-appointed investigator Ted Wells found that Brady was "at least generally aware" of plans by two team employees to prepare the balls to his liking, below the league-mandated minimum of 12.5 pounds per square inch.

In a 20,000-word rebuttal to the league's findings published Thursday, a Patriots lawyer disputed the conclusions on matters of science, logic and law.

Team attorney Daniel Goldberg said the "deflator" nickname used by a ballboy and cited in the discipline was about weight loss, not footballs.

The two employees used the term jokingly to refer to locker room attendant Jim McNally, who was trying to lose weight, Goldberg said.

Goldberg represented the team and was present during all of interviews of team personnel. Patriots spokesman Stacey James confirmed that the site wellsreportcontext.com was genuine and "approved/supported by the team."

Goldberg's response claims the league's conclusions are "at best, incomplete, incorrect and lack context."

It denied a link between Brady and the two equipment staffers, and it rejected Wells' claims that the team was not cooperative in the investigation. Wells said the team refused to make McNally available for a follow-up interview; Goldberg said the league should have asked all of its questions the first time.

Among the claims in the response were that Wells ignored an innocuous scientific explanation for the loss of air pressure in the footballs used in the AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.

The rebuttal also includes claims of other incidents of ball-tampering that were not dealt with as harshly. And it says increased communication between Brady and the ballboys after the scandal broke were just normal expressions of concern, rather than evidence of the quarterback's guilt.

In Brady's appeal, the league will go against an experienced foe in labor lawyer Jeffrey Kessler, who has won other appeals against the league and is helping the quarterback.

If the suspension is upheld, Brady would miss the first four games of the regular season and be eligible to return against the Colts on Oct. 18.

---

AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi contributed to this story.

Reactions to Brady's suspension from around the league:

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Deflategate reactions - Patriots - Tom Brady - Suspension reactions added 5/12
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Brady appeals suspension in 'Deflategate'
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THIS IS ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS!!! SMH 😡 #PATSNATION STAND UP!!!!!
.....😑
You have to the love the patriots . They do anything to win a Super Bowl . #mytypeofteam😊
Tom Brady's 4-game suspension costs him $1,882,352 in salary. Patriots' fine is $1M. So team actually makes $882K...but still loses plenty.
People are so jealous of Tom Brady and the Patriots. No court could convict based on the evidence.They can't beat him on the field, so this!
Did not see that one coming a milli and 4 games😐
I honestly feel bad for Tom Brady!! I know first hand the type of competitor he is & how much work he puts in... Came down too hard on him!
It's a good thing the @nfl suspended Tom Brady now everyone knows that NOBODY is above the system #NFL #FairGame
To win four Super Bowl is outstanding. I know Tom Brady is a great competitor and leader. I feel sorry for him and patriots nation!
Every1s very opinionated about #DeflateGate. Some known athletes speaking & passing judgement r known offenders. #CastingStones #GlassHouses
I think the suspension is warranted, they came down hard on the organization though. #Deflategate
What's even worse is that people want to see him fall because of his greatness! #FreeTomBrady
After 4 months of extreme, detailed investigation.. NE might have, probably, possibly, maybe deflated balls... Most likely.
It's May and the Deflategate is still an issue.
Well Well Wells
Omg somebody please tell me these text messages from the Patriots report are not real...If so I'm going to the hospital of laughter
Honestly I don't know that deflating balls makes a difference at all.... patriots are seriously a great football team and Tom probably is
The goat. Just when you're that high up in your profession and there is something to criticize u can't expect us plebs to not take advantage
He and they are so good that we often try to Find something to criticize. In this case Ted Wells laid it out on a platter for us.
We all were "generally aware" that the Patriots push the rules. We also knew it was "more probable than not" that they cheat. No news here!
Water is wet https://t.co/LL1sN62DhL
Back to being serious 1. I'm not surprised 2. They still won and a deflated football doesn't help that much 3. It's all about integrity
They should throw the book at Brady. He should have to miss recess & write I will probably not deflate footballs100 times on a chalkboard
#WhoCaresGate
Ppl will say Coach Belichick didn't know. In the words of Commish Goodell to S. Payton. You're the hd coach. You should've known.
In DeflateGate report, equipment assistant says Brady gave him ball that he used to pass 50K career passing yards http://t.co/OR3CLoNkXe
Asked about Deflategate, Rob Gronkowski simply flexed his muscles. #WBZ http://t.co/MMG5HdYGK4
The Patriots are habitual rule breakers, and that's why they win championships.
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