New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady arrived at the NFL’s Park Avenue offices Tuesday morning to voice his appeal to league commissioner Roger Goodell over his four-game suspension for the “Deflategate” scandal.
Brady entered the building amid crowds and photographers roughly 15 minutes before the appeal was scheduled to get underway at 9:30 a.m. ET. It’s unknown if the All-Pro signal caller has new evidence to present to Goodell or what he will exactly say about his alleged role in the controversy that engulfed the NFL for most of the offseason.
Following the investigation of league-appointed attorney Ted Wells, who is also in attendance at the appeal, Brady was accused of being “at least generally aware” of two Patriots equipment managers purposely deflating footballs before last season’s AFC Championship in order to give Brady a presumed advantage.
Before the Wells Report was released, Brady addressed the media and professed his innocence only weeks before the Patriots went on to beat the Seattle Seahawks to claim their fifth Super Bowl title with Brady named MVP.
NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent, based off the findings in the Wells Report, suspended Brady for the first four games of the season and took away two Patriots draft picks and fined the franchise one million dollars, the maximum financial penalty allowed under the league’s bylaws.
Brady’s since maintained his stance, and seeks a full scale back of the suspension which will keep him out of action until Week 6 of next season.
After all that background, here are at least four other important facts to keep in mind during this process.
How Long Will The Appeal Last?
The initial appeal could last much of Tuesday, and the two sides could meet again, possibly Thursday, before the entire process is complete. Brady will be joined by his lawyer Jeffrey Kessler.
Any New Evidence?
Much of the Wells Report evidence came from the cell phones of the two Patriots equipment managers, who exchanged many text messages throughout the regular and postseasons. Brady initially refused to hand his phone over to the Wells’ investigators, but as ProFootballTalk proposes, he could show Goodell evidence on the phone that exonerates him and ends the controversy.
When Will Brady Learn His Fate?
Goodell exercised his right under the collective bargaining agreement to hear the appeal rather than appoint an independent arbiter. He has no hard timetable to follow and can theoretically wait awhile until announcing his ruling.
Though some have questioned his decision to hear the appeal, Goodell has told reporters that he can be impartial.
“I have publicly expressed my appreciation to Mr. Wells and his colleagues for their thorough and independent work,” Goodell said, about Wells according to New York Daily News. “But that does not mean that I am wedded to their conclusions or to their assessment of the facts.
“Nor does it mean, after considering the evidence and argument presented during the appeal, I may not reach a different conclusion about Mr. Brady’s conduct or the discipline imposed.”
Several reports have said a ruling is unlikely to be announced until the end of July, around the time the Patriots and the rest of the league open training camp.
Any Steps For Brady After Appeal?
Technically, if Goodell decides to uphold the suspension then Brady could challenge the NFL in court. It’s a situation the NFL and the Patriots would like to avoid, as it could get messy in a court battle. But Brady could view the acceptance of the suspension as an admission of guilt in the public’s eye, and might want to clear his name.