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Tom Brady appeals suspension; Goodell to hear case

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will hear the appeal of Tom Brady's four-game suspension, the league confirmed to NFL Media's Albert Breer on Thursday. The NFL Players Association's appeal of Brady's suspension was officially filed earlier Thursday and the full appeal letter can be seen here.

Goodell's decision to hear the appeal himself is in accordance with the process agreed upon with the NFLPA in the 2011 collective bargaining agreement. Brady's suspension was based upon the findings of the Wells Report. The report concluded it was "more probable than not" that Brady was "at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities" regarding the deflation of Patriots game balls used in the AFC Championship Game.

The NFLPA had publicly pushed for Goodell to appoint a neutral arbitrator to hear the appeal.

"Given the NFL's history of inconsistency and arbitrary decisions in disciplinary matters, it is only fair that a neutral arbitrator hear this appeal," the NFLPA said in a statement.

The Wells Report, released May 6, also stated that Brady did not fully cooperate with the league's investigation by refusing to hand over "any relevant electronic evidence."

The lack of cooperation, in part, led to the four-game suspension handed down by the NFL.

Among those representing the Patriots quarterback will be labor lawyer Jeffrey Kessler, who has successfully battled the NFL in previous cases, such as the New Orleans Saints' BountyGate scandal.

If the suspension is upheld, Brady will miss the first four games of the 2015 season, including the season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Brady's appeal followed the Patriots' Thursday rebuttal to the Wells Report, which came via a site called

The Patriots organization has not yet announced whether it will appeal the $1 million fine and two forfeited draft picks (including a 2016 first-round pick) levied by the NFL. Owner Robert Kraft stated after the punishment was announced that the penalty "far exceeded any reasonable expectation."

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