NFLPA intends to call Roger Goodell as witness in Tom Brady's appeal

Roger Goodell shouldn't preside over Tom Brady's appeal because he is an 'essential witness,' the NFLPA says

The NFL Players Assn. has revealed some of the "essential witnesses" it intends to have testify at the appeal of Tom Brady's four-game suspension for his role in the Deflategate scandal.

One of those names is particularly interesting -- Roger Goodell.

Yes, that's NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who confirmed to The Times on Thursday night that he will preside over the appeal of the New England Patriots quarterback.

And that was after the NFLPA had filed its letter of appeal on Brady's behalf to NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent, which Goodell had presumably seen by that time.

In that letter, NFLPA general counsel Tom DePaso states that Goodell and Vincent will be called upon to testify on Vincent's disciplinary authority, or lack thereof, as well as the NFL's role in "what may have been a 'sting operation' to try to implicate the Patriots and Mr. Brady."

"In light of the above, the NFLPA believes that neither Commissioner Goodell nor anyone with close ties to the NFL can serve as arbitrator in Mr. Brady's appeal under governing legal standards," DePaso wrote. "The credibility and testimony of both [Vincent] and Commissioner Goodell will be at issue in the hearing as well as numerous procedural issues regarding your testimony and the testimony of the Commissioner."

DePaso cited last year's appeal of the Ray Rice case, in which former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones overturned the NFL's indefinite suspension of the former Baltimore Ravens running back.

"This letter will serve as a formal demand that the Commissioner follow the Rice precedent and appoint an independent person to serve as arbitrator over Mr. Brady's appeal. If the Commissioner does not appoint such a neutral arbitrator, the NFLPA and Mr. Brady will seek recusal and pursue all available relief to obtain an arbitrator who is not evidently partial."

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