The Latest: Brady and players' union file lawsuit again NFL

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Posted: Jul 29, 2015 6:21 PM
The Latest: Brady and players' union file lawsuit again NFL

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Here is the latest surrounding the suspension of star Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for using underinflated footballs (all times local):

6:20 p.m.

Tom Brady is asking a federal judge in Minnesota to overturn his four-game suspension for the scandal known as "Deflategate."

In a filing Wednesday afternoon, lawyers working with the NFL Players Association asked U.S. District Judge David Doty to vacate the suspension or at least put it on hold until the case can be heard. Attorney Jeffrey Kessler told The Associated Press that the league broke at least four procedural rules when it suspended the reigning Super Bowl MVP for "his alleged 'general awareness' that somebody else violated a policy."

"It would be as if you would punish one player on a team because he has been generally aware that another player on a team is taking steroids," Kessler said.

The union asked Doty to throw out the suspension before Sept. 4; that would allow Brady to participate in all practices before the Patriots' Sept. 10 season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. If Doty needs more time, Brady's lawyers are asking him for an injunction that would prevent the league from enforcing the suspension.

"We don't believe this discipline can ever be sustained," Kessler said.

6:20 p.m.

Tom Brady's lawsuit in the deflated footballs scandal questions whether the league followed its own rules when it suspended the four-time Super Bowl champion.

The suit filed in U.S. District Court in Minnesota claims the NFL improperly applied its penalties for equipment violations, which call for only a small fine. And it questions Commissioner Roger Goodell's independence when he handed down the punishment and heard Brady's appeal.

The lawsuit also says the league can't punish Brady for violating standards that didn't exist: Because the league had no standard procedure for testing the air pressure in footballs, there's no way punishments can be fair and consistent, as required.

"They just invented the procedure three days ago," union attorney Jeffrey Kessler said. "They didn't know that balls automatically deflate going from hot to cold and going from dry to wet? Ninth graders taking chemistry know. How could they not know?

"So the result is that they had no fair and consistent basis to even conclude that there was an artificial deflation."

6:20 p.m.

Why Minnesota, and not New York?

NFLPA attorney Jeffrey Kessler says that U.S. District Judge David Doty is the right person to hear Tom Brady's lawsuit claiming that the league didn't follow the proper procedures when it suspended him for four games in the "Deflategate" scandal.

The league already has one suit in motion, filing it in New York on Tuesday immediately after Commissioner Roger Goodell turned aside Brady's appeal of his four-game suspension. Traditionally, the first to file gets to pick the location of the legal proceedings.

But Kessler told The Associated Press that Brady's case is directly related to the Adrian Peterson case, which was heard in Minneapolis.

Doty held that the league couldn't punish the Vikings running back under a policy that didn't exist at the time of his violation. That's one of the arguments the union is making in Brady's defense.

And that would mean that Doty should hear it.

"He is the best judge to interpret how his decision in Peterson applies now to Brady," Kessler said.

The union has had great success in Doty's courtroom, starting with the 1992 case that opened the door for free agency in the NFL. That's a big reason why the league is trying to avoid having the issue heard there.

But Kessler said the league's attempt to hear the case in New York is just forum-shopping.

"We don't think they had a good-faith basis" to file in New York, Kessler said. "It was purely an attempt to pick a different forum, which was not the best forum."

12:45 p.m.

Police have been asked to keep an eye on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's home on the Maine coast following his decision to uphold the four-game suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Scarborough Police Chief Robbie Moulton tells the Portland Press Herald (http://bit.ly/1fGov0Y ) that the NFL reached out Tuesday to alert police about Goodell's decision, which isn't popular in New England.

Goodell has vacationed for years in Scarborough and recently built a home at Prout's Neck.

The chief declined to say whether Goodell was at his home Wednesday.

In upholding the Super Bowl MVP's suspension, Goodell said Brady destroyed evidence in connection with the probe into whether he was involved in the deflation of footballs in the AFC championship game.

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2 p.m.

New England Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty says the team supports Tom Brady in his fight against the NFL.

He also says he has faith in backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo if he has to fill in for the three-time Super Bowl MVP during his four-game suspension. McCourty says Garoppolo has shown to be a hungry player who wants to improve. He says the second-year quarterback has been listening to Brady and trying to emulate him.

McCourty says the Patriots will approach training camp the way coach Bill Belichick tells them. That means each player focusing on football, concentrating on his own job and trying to get better.

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11:40 a.m.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft says his team provided NFL investigators with coach Bill Belichick's cellphone as it looked into whether Tom Brady or others improperly tampered with footballs used in the playoffs last season.

Kraft said Wednesday that the Patriots provided the NFL with every cellphone requested from team employees who weren't a part of the NFL players' union.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell cited the phone as a key reason why he upheld a four-game suspension for Brady for using underinflated footballs in the AFC championship against the Colts.

Brady says he replaced a broken phone only after his lawyers told the league they couldn't have it. He says he's never written, texted or emailed anyone anything related to football air pressure before the scandal known as "Deflategate" surfaced.

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10:35 a.m.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick says the four-game suspension for star quarterback Tom Brady and the saga surrounding deflated footballs won't alter his team's preparation for the season.

Belichick deflected all questions about the scandal known as "Deflategate" on Wednesday, one day after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell affirmed the suspension for Brady for using doctored footballs in the AFC championship game. Instead of offering his take, Belichick referred to statements about the issue from team owner Robert Kraft as his team opened training camp.

When asked whether backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo would get more practice in camp, Belichick replied by saying: "We practice everybody."

Belichick says every player needs to re-establish his level of performance.

Belichick says when asked whether he has spoken to Brady that he talks to the team every day.

He says the team is focused now on getting the team ready for the 2015 season.

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10:30 a.m.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft says he was wrong to trust the NFL in the deflated footballs case and that he regrets not appealing the penalties against the team.

Appearing at team headquarters Wednesday, a day after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld a four-game suspension of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Kraft angrily targeted the league for its handling of the case.

Kraft said that the league's claim that Brady trashed his cellphone was just the latest in a series of statements and leaks designed to impugn the integrity of Brady and the team.

Kraft said, "I have come to the conclusion that this was never about doing what was fair and just."

Brady was suspended four games and the team was docked $1 million and two draft picks after the league found improperly inflated footballs were used in the AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.

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8:30 a.m.

Tom Brady is vowing to fight his four-game suspension for the scandal known as "Deflategate."

Brady writes in a 507-word Facebook post that he did nothing wrong, and neither did anyone in the Patriots organization.

Brady also denies destroying his cellphone to keep it out of the hands of investigators.

He says there's no smoking gun and the controversy is manufactured to distract from the league having no evidence of wrongdoing.

Brady was suspended four games and the team was docked $1 million and two draft picks after the league found improperly inflated footballs were used in the AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Investigator Ted Wells zeroed in on two equipment managers — one who called himself "The Deflator" — and said Brady was "at least generally aware" of the illegal deflation scheme.

The Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl for their fourth NFL title under Brady and coach Bill Belichick.

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