Tom Brady’s union sued the National Football League in a bid to set aside the New England Patriots quarterback’s four-game suspension.
The National Football League Players Association’s suit, filed Wednesday in federal court in Minnesota, follows Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s statement that he regrets not taking legal action against the National Football League after Commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday refused to reduce Brady’s penalty involving the Patriots’ deflated-ball controversy.
The NFL’s investigation concluded Brady, the two-time NFL Most Valuable Player, was probably at least generally aware that two Patriots staffers deflated game balls below the league’s minimum air pressure before last season’s conference championship game.
The players union said in its lawsuit that Brady wasn’t given proper notice of the disciplinary standards, policies and potential penalties that the league applied in its arbitration.
The arbitration is the result of a “fundamentally unfair process” and the judgment “was issued by an evidently partial arbitrator who put himself in the position of ruling on the legality of his own improper delegation of authority” in violation of the parties’ collective bargaining agreement, according to the suit.
The union, which described Goodell’s decision as “outrageous,” previously said it would file an appeal on behalf of Brady, who stands to lose about $1.75 million in salary during his ban. The NFL’s Management Council sued the union first, asking a court to confirm Goodell was within his rights to uphold the discipline.
Brian McCarthy, an NFL spokesman, didn’t immediately respond to phone and e-mail messages after regular business hours seeking comment on the union’s suit.
Brady said Wednesday in a statement that neither he nor anyone in the Patriots’ organization had done anything wrong. Brady, 37, had authorized the union to make a settlement offer to the NFL to try to avoid going to court, saying he wanted to “put this inconsequential issue behind us as we move forward into this season.” Brady said the discipline was upheld without any counteroffer. While Brady said he respects Goodell’s authority, he said the commissioner needs to honor the league’s collective bargaining agreement.
“I will not allow my unfair discipline to become a precedent for other NFL players without a fight,” Brady said.
The case is National Football League Players Association v. National Football League, 15-cv-03168, U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota.