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NFL officially appeals Tom Brady decision

The NFL appealed U.S. District Judge Richard Berman's ruling nullifying Tom Brady's four-game suspension.

Commissioner Roger Goodell, in a statement released Thursday prior to the league's court filing, cited competitive fairness as a key component in the decision to appeal.

"We are grateful to Judge Berman for hearing this matter, but respectfully disagree with today's decision," Goodell said. "We will appeal today's ruling in order to uphold the collectively bargained responsibility to protect the integrity of the game. The commissioner's responsibility to secure the competitive fairness of our game is a paramount principle, and the league and our 32 clubs will continue to pursue a path to that end. While the legal phase of this process continues, we look forward to focusing on football and the opening of the regular season."

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported the NFL will not seek a stay to keep Brady from playing during the appeal process.

In Berman's 40-page decision negating Brady's suspension, the judge cited three main points: 1) No notice of discipline; 2) No testimony from NFL general council Jeff Pash; and 3) No access to the files from the Ted Wells Report.

While Brady will be on the field in Foxborough for Thursday's opener against the Steelers, Goodell won't be in attendance as is customary. Rapoport reported, per the NFL, that Goodell will watch the game on TV because he wants the focus to be on the field and the festivities celebrating the Patriots' Super Bowl win.

This legal quagmire, however, is far from over.

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