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Roger Goodell upholds Tom Brady suspension

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has upheld Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's four-game suspension for violating the league's policy on integrity of the game, the league announced Tuesday.

The full final decision from Goodell can be read here, although it doesn't necessarily end this saga. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that Brady will sue. Brady's camp will seek an injunction on this suspension to try to keep Brady on the field. 

"The NFLPA will appeal this outrageous decision on behalf of Tom Brady," the player's association said in a statement.  The suit will be filed Wednesday in Minnesota, per Rapoport. 

Goodell indicated that Brady's destruction of evidence was a factor in upholding the suspension.

"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 that AFC Championship Game and the initial weeks of the subsequent investigation," Goodell wrote in the final decision on the appeal.

"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 Patriotsreleased a statement Tuesday saying they are "extremely disappointed" in Goodell's decision.

"Most would agree that the penalties levied originally were excessive and unprecedented, especially in light of the fact that the league has no hard evidence of wrongdoing," the Patriots' statement continues. "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."

NFL Media's Judy Battista reported that the NFL and Brady's side had some discussions about reducing his suspension to one game with multiple game checks as a fine. But sources involved in the negotiations say that conversation was a non-starter because Brady's side wanted records sealed. 

The four-time Super Bowl winner is eligible to play Week 6 in Indianapolis against the Colts. Jimmy Garoppolo, who played sparingly as Brady's backup last year, is expected to start the team's first four games of the season. Brady remains eligible for training camp and the preseason.

Rapoport reported earlier Tuesday that the NFL and NFLPA exchanged offers for a potential settlement for Brady's suspension. However, Brady was not willing to accept any offer that included him sitting out games, and the league almost certainly wanted an acknowledgement of contrition from Brady. 

Brady was suspended on May 11after a report by Ted Wells, an investigator contracted by the league, asserted Brady's connection to the deflation of footballs used in the AFC Championship Game, which the Patriots won, 45-7. Wells did not allege that Brady himself improperly handled the footballs, but the investigator wrote that he believed Brady was "at least generally aware" of the alleged involvement of Patriots staff in deflating the footballs. Wells also noted that Brady did not fully cooperate with his requests during the investigation.

The Patriots franchise was also handed down discipline stemming from the incident, but owner Robert Kraft ultimately chose not to fight those sanctions, which included a $1 million fine and the loss of a 2016 first-round pick and 2017 fourth-round selection.

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