Jason Cole of the Bleacher Report mentions that Roger Goodell’s decision to appoint himself as the arbitrator in Tom Brady‘s appeal hearing will likely result in his four-game suspension being upheld.
- Ed Werder reports that Goodell is “very unlikely’‘ to recuse himself from presiding over Brady’s appeal.
After all, Goodell has already upheld the punishment and if he were to overturn the findings of NFL’s commissioned report, it would probably reflect poorly on him.
Because of this, Cole believes Brady will most likely have to take his case to court in the end.
The problem for Brady is that the court may not want to hear his case, given that this matter has been collectively bargained. Cole adds that the federal court system could prove to be difficult route for Brady.
NFL owners around league have wanted Goodell to maintain the ability to oversee appeal cases.
The NFL Players Association released their appeal letter Friday morning.
The letter states:
“The NFLPA believes that neither Commissioner Goodell nor anyone with close ties to the NFL can serve as arbitrator in Mr. Brady’s appeal under governing legal standards. The credibility and testimony of both you and Commissioner Goodell will be at issue in the hearing as well as numerous procedural issues regarding your testimony and the testimony of the Commissioner. Thus, this matter is similar to the Rice appeal, where Commissioner Goodell properly concluded that a neutral with no ties to the League, Judge Barbara Jones, should be appointed as Hearing Officer to afford Mr. Rice a lawful hearing before an impartial and to maintain the integrity of the proceedings.
Accordingly, this letter will serve as a formal demand that the Commissioner follow the Rice precedent and appoint an independent person to serve as arbitrator over Mr. Brady’s appeal. If the Commissioner does not appoint such a neutral arbitrator, the NFLPA and Mr. Brady will seek recusal and pursue all available relief to obtain an arbitrator who is not evidently partial.
Finally, to the extent any portion of Mr. Brady’s discipline was imposed for any alleged on-field conduct, the League must immediately identify such discipline, the conduct that allegedly provided its basis, and comply with the appeals procedures set forth under Article 46, Section 1(b) of the CBA. See Bounty Appeals Panel Decision at 9.“
This is just a section of the letter released by the NFLPA. You can read the full letter here.
The NFL has confirmed the news in a statement released, per Don Van Natta Jr.
The NFL statement on Commissioner Goodell's decision to preside over Tom Brady's appeal. pic.twitter.com/FhawxMFw4a
— Don Van Natta Jr. (@DVNJr) May 15, 2015
The NFL Players Association and the Patriots won’t be happy to hear that Goodell plans to hear the appeal case, as they’ve publicly requested an independent arbitrator to rule on Brady’s four-game suspension.
Under the CBA, Goodell has the ability to oversee appeals, which has been an issue of contention with the legal in recent years.
Earlier in the day the NFLPA announced that they have officially filed an appeal on behalf of Brady.
“The NFLPA has filed an appeal of the four-game suspension of Tom Brady handed down by Troy Vincent.
Given the NFL’s history of inconsistency and arbitrary decisions in disciplinary matters, it is only fair that a neutral arbitrator hear this appeal.
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.“
Albert Breer reported Thursday evening that Brady’s appeal hearing hinges upon four major points:
- The NFLPA believes the sanctions handed down by the NFL are reliant on the Wells Report, and lack enough direct evidence to find Brady definitively guilty.
- The NFLPA contends that this discipline should not be determined by Troy Vincent due to the CBA, and should instead come from Roger Goodell or a hearings officer.
- The NFLPA is arguing that the punishment is inconsistent with similar transgressions while the league reportedly considers this case to be unique, and without precedent.
- Based on past history between the league and NFLPA, the union is expected to argue that a neutral arbitrator is absolutely necessary in this case.