FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) – The sides have bitterly argued in the court of public opinion. Now Roger Goodell plans to try to personally settle whether Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady deserves a four-game suspension for using deflated footballs.
The NFL commissioner decided Thursday night to take up an appeal for the New England Patriots quarterback, a move allowed under the collective bargaining agreement despite the wishes of union officials who wanted Goodell to appoint a neutral arbitrator for the case.
Goodell will review the punishment handed down by NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent. He’ll decide whether to keep the four-game suspension, reduce it or eliminate it.
Goodell’s denial of the union’s wishes was just the last power play on a day filled with outward campaigning on an issue that started months ago as a backchannel complaint.
Hours earlier, the club went on the offensive with a 20,000-word online rebuttal by its lawyers to the 243-page report that led to the suspension. It came two days after a conference call by attorney Ted Wells, who headed the NFL investigation, in which, in a sometimes rising voice, he challenged criticism from Brady’s agent, Donald Yee.