The NFL has announced that Patriots QB Tom Brady’s appeal has been denied, and that he will sit for the first four games of 2015, including the NFL season opener on September 8th in Foxboro against the Steelers and the next three games after that.
The penalties were issued after NFL-appointed investigator Ted Wells found that Brady was “at least generally aware” of plans made by two team employees to prepare the balls to his liking, below the league-mandated 12.5 pounds per square inch.
The NFLPA appealed Brady’s punishment on three grounds: that only the commissioner has the authority to impose discipline (league vice president Troy Vincent issued the original penalty); the four-game suspension is “grossly inconsistent” with prior treatment of similar alleged conduct; and the discipline is based on the Wells report, which contains insufficient evidence to find Brady in violation of NFL rules.
The union also asked Goodell to recuse himself in favor of a neutral arbitrator, but the commissioner rejected the motion, citing the importance of his duty to safeguard the integrity of the game.
The Patriots were also fined $1 million and docked two draft picks, one of them next year’s first rounder, in the wake of the Wells report findings. Patriots owner Robert Kraft eventually decided not to fight those aspects of the league’s discipline even though he’s adamantly defended his team throughout the course of the Deflategate proceedings.
The Wells Report found that Patriots locker room attendant Jim McNally referred to himself as “the deflator” in text messages with equipment manager John Jastremski. The Patriots argued this was simply a term referencing McNally’s desire to lose weight.
NFL says Tom Brady directed that his cell phone be destroyed on or shortly before March 6, when Brady met with investigator Ted Wells.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 28, 2015
This is not much of a surprise, but you can bet we’ve not heard the last of the situation, as there’s rumblings that Brady and the Pats are going to continue to push the issue, and take it to an even higher court.