(CN) – The battle over NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s four-game suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady over the league’s “Deflategate” scandal is headed for Federal Court.
On Tuesday afternoon Goodell upheld his four-game suspension of Brady for violating the league’s policy on integrity of the game.
In doing so, the commissioner amped up the animosity between his office and one of the league’s most popular players by accusing the quarterback of destroying his cellphone to keep it from investigators.
Within minutes of announcing Brady’s suspension would stand, the league filed a motion in Manhattan Federal Court asking it to confirm Goodell’s decision.
Tuesday evening, a defiant Brady took to Facebook, where he said, “I did nothing wrong, and no one in the Patriots organization did either.”
Brady also addressed the allegations about his cellphone.
“To suggest that I destroyed a phone to avoid giving the NFL information it requested is completely wrong,” Brady wrote.
” I replaced my broken Samsung phone with a new iPhone 6 AFTER my attorneys made it clear to the NFL that my actual phone device would not be subjected to investigation under ANY circumstances,” he said. ” As a member of a union, I was under no obligation to set a new precedent going forward, nor was I made aware at any time during … then investigation, that failing to subject my cell phone to investigation would result in ANY discipline.” (emphasis in the original statement.)
“There is no “smoking gun” and this controversy is manufactured to distract from the fact they have zero evidence of wrongdoing,” he said. “Most importantly, I have never written, texted, emailed to anybody at anytime, anything related to football air pressure before this issue was raised at the AFC Championship game in January.”
Brady was suspended four games in May after footballs used by the Patriots during the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts were found to be inflated under the minimum level prescribed by the league.
Along with the NFL Players Association, Brady challenged his penalty and testified before Goodell at an appeal hearing last month.
The four-time Super Bowl winner is eligible to play Week 6 in Indianapolis against the Colts, the league said Tuesday afternoon.
Brady was suspended on May 11 after 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 said 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 was fined $1 million and lost a 2016 first-round pick and 2017 fourth-round selection in the NFL draft over the incident.
Brady has authorized the player’s association to proceed with a legal appeal on his behalf.
“I will not allow my unfair discipline to become a precedent for other NFL players without a fight,” he said.
In a statement of its own, the player’s association said Goodell’s ruling, “did nothing to address the legal deficiencies of due process.”
“The fact that the NFL would resort to basing a suspension on a smoke screen of irrelevant text messages instead of admitting that they have all of the phone records they asked for is a new low, even for them, but it does nothing to correct their errors,” the association said.
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