NFL commissioner Roger Goodell upheld New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's four-game suspension for violating the league's policy on integrity of the game on July 28.
Tom Brady's four-game suspension has been upheld.
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NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal confirmed commissioner Roger Goodell's decision in his July 28 report. The NFL had previously suspended the New England Patriots quarterback on May 11 for violating its policy on integrity of the game.
NFL Media's Judy Battista says the NFL and Brady's side previously talked about reducing his suspension to one game while receiving a fine as well. However, that didn't materialize as Brady and his camp "wanted records sealed," per Rosenthal.
However, the NFL Players Association plans to file a lawsuit in Minnesota on July 29, per NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport (via NFL.com). Rosenthal also says Brady will seek an injunction in an attempt to keep his 2015 NFL season intact.
"The NFLPA will appeal this outrageous decision on behalf of Tom Brady," the association said in a statement obtained by Rosenthal.
Rapoport also says the NFL and NFLPA were mulling over a potential settlement but Brady did not want anything which involves a suspension, per NFL.com.
In his full statement on upholding Brady's suspension, Goodell cited the Patriots quarterback's destruction of his cellphone which contained an estimated 10,000 text messages:
"The most significant new information that emerged in connection with the appeal was evidence that on or about March 6, 2015 -- the very day that he was interviewed by Mr. (Ted) Wells and his investigated team -- Mr. Brady instructed his assistant to destroy the cellphone that he had been using since early 2014, a period that included AFC Championship Game and the initial weeks of the subsequent investigation.
"During the four months that the cell phone was in use, Brady had exchanged nearly 10,000 text messages, none of which can now be retrieved from that device. The destruction of the cell phone was not disclosed until June 18, almost four months after the investigators had first sought electronic information from Brady."
The NFL emphasized Brady had his cellphone destroyed despite the fact it had already asked him to turn it in. The league found out about the cell phone's disposal on June 18 and was confirmed five days later, per ESPN's Mike Reiss.
Brady told the NFL during his appeal hearing it had been routine for him to destroy an old cellphone and SIM card whenever he gets a new one, per ESPN.
A league source told Reiss on Tuesday Brady and his camp wanted records of his case sealed during his appeal so that the discovery of him having his cell phone destroyed won't get leaked out. The NFL declined the request.
For their part, the Patriots issued their own statement expressing disappointment in the ruling, per Patriots.com:
"We are extremely disappointed in today's ruling by Commissioner Goodell. We cannot comprehend the league's position in this matter. Most would agree that the penalties levied originally were excessive and unprecedented, especially in light of the fact that the league had no hard evidence of wrongdoing.
"We continue to unequivocally believe in and support Tom Brady. We also believe that the laws of science continue to underscore the folly of this entire ordeal. Given all of this, it is incomprehensible as to why the league is attempting to destroy the reputation of one of its greatest players and representatives."
Brady's agent, Don Yee, also issued a statement obtained by Reiss:
"The Commissioner's decision is deeply disappointing, but not surprising because the appeal process was thoroughly lacking in procedural fairness. Most importantly, neither Tom nor the Patriots did anything wrong. And the NFL has no evidence that anything inappropriate occurred.
"The appeal process was a sham, resulting in the Commissioner rubber-stamping his own decision.
"The Commissioner's decision and discipline has no precedent in all of NFL history. His decision alters the competitive balance of the upcoming season. The decision is wrong and has no basis, and it diminishes the integrity of the game."
The NFL suspended Brady for four games last May for his involvement in the infamous "DeflateGate" scandal, where game balls used for the 2014 AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts were allegedly deflated, per Rosenthal.
Back then, Wells concluded the Patriots quarterback was "at least generally aware" of the team's staff deflating footballs. The NFL subsequently fined the Patriots $1 million and docked them a first-round draft pick in 2016 and a fourth-round draft pick in 2017, per NFL.com.
Rosenthal notes Patriots owner Robert Kraft did not appeal those sanctions.
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