Roger Goodell says Wednesday he has not had time to consider NFLPA’s request to recuse himself from hearing Tom Brady’s appeal of the league’s four-game Deflategate ban.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell hinted Wednesday that he could possibly reduce Tom Brady’s four-game DeflateGate suspension — but only if the beleaguered Patriots quarterback can provide new information about the role he played in the deflated footballs scandal.
Speaking at the NFL spring owners meeting in San Francisco, Goodell said Brady’s lack of cooperation with Ted Wells, the attorney hired to investigate allegations that the Patriots used deflated football in order to gain an advantage in the AFC Championship Game against the Colts, was a factor in the discipline.
“I look forward to hearing directly from Tom if there’s new information,” Goodell said, “information that can be helpful to us in getting this right.”
The NFL Players Association formally asked Goodell Tuesday to recuse himself as the arbitrator in Brady’s appeal, but Goodell said he has been focused on the agenda at the owners meeting and has not had time to consider the union request. Goodell said he will consider the NFLPA request after he returns to New York Thursday.
The union has said that Goodell should appoint an independent arbitrator because he was involved in the decision to suspend Brady and will be called as a witness in the hearing. Goodell acknowledged that he had participated in discussions about the report Wells prepared on DeflateGate and authorized NFL executive Troy Vincent to suspend Brady for four games, a fourth of the NFL regular season.
However, Goodell said it would be appropriate for him to serve as the arbitrator because the commissioner is the ultimate guardian of the game’s integrity.
“That’s my job,” he said.
Goodell also said Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft’s announcement that he would not appeal the NFL’s decision to slap the club with a $ 1 million fine and the loss of two draft picks would not have an effect on Brady’s appeal.
Brady’s hearing has not yet been scheduled, but a source told the Daily News that the Players Association and the league have discussed possible dates for a hearing.
“I have great admiration and respect for Tom Brady,” Goodell said, “but the rules have to be enforced.”
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