The NFL Players Association continues to take steps towards the removal of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell from the appeals process. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady appealed his four-game suspension, and Goodell tagged himself to serve as arbitrator.
This act of appointment is allowed by the CBA signed by the NFLPA and the NFL. Goodell is technically "allowed" to hear the appeal. Of course, there's a loophole that the NFLPA will always exploit and it's the fact that it's impossible for Goodell to be a neutral arbitrator.
The NFLPA released a letter stating their arbitration appeal on behalf of Brady, and they lay out the following points:
1) Troy Vincent was appointed by Goodell to issue punishment to Brady. Per the CBA, only the commissioner has authority to do so, and there is no clause that allows this specific role to be delegated to another party. Therefore, the penalty and suspension is invalid.
2) The four-game suspension is "grossly inconsistent with the League's prior disciplinary action of similar alleged conduct." They use legal jargon to state that this means the penalty is "unfair and inconsistent" and should be vacated.
3) There is insufficient evidence in the Wells Report to levy any sort of penalty against Brady.
4) The NFLPA will be calling both Vincent and Goodell to testify at the hearing to provide information on their pre-game knowledge of the Colts request for additional focus on the footballs, for their game-day involvement, and for their post-game interactions. As a result, Goodell cannot act as arbitrator since he'll be asked to testify.
5) The NFL has to immediately identify the exact conduct of Brady that led to his discipline, because "he kinda sorta mighta known" doesn't cut it.
And now the NFLPA will await the league's response. Due to prior precedence, it's fairly certain this will be elevated to the courts and out of Goodell's hands.