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NFL players union promises action if suspension isn’t lifted for Patriots’ Tom Brady

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady calls out signals during a team minicamp in Foxborough, Mass., on June 17, 2015.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady calls out signals during a team minicamp in Foxborough, Mass., on June 17, 2015.

(Stephan Savoia / Associated Press)

It’s been nearly a month since Tom Brady appealed his four-game Deflategate suspension, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has yet to announce whether he will uphold or modify the four-time Super Bowl winner’s punishment.

Speaking on NBC Sports Radio on Wednesday, NFL Players’ Assn. President Eric Winston expressed frustration over the NFL’s handling of Brady’s appeal and said the union is prepared to “take the next step” if Goodell doesn’t overturn the suspension.

“It’s not even worth trying to guess what’s going on because it doesn’t seem like all the time that they know what’s going on,” Winston said. “I hope they do the right thing; I hope they exonerate Tom and overturn his suspension, but if they don’t, we’re prepared to take the next step, whatever that next step might be.”

It’s unclear what steps the players union might take if Brady’s suspension isn’t dissolved, but Brady, reportedly, is prepared to fight any suspension in federal court. To defend him in the Deflategate case, Brady retained lawyer Jeffrey Kessler, who has successfully fought the NFL on multiple occasions, including the New Orleans Saints’ Bountygate scandal in 2008.

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The NFL suspended Brady in May after an NFL-commissioned investigation by attorney Ted Wells concluded it was “more probable than not” that Brady was “generally aware” of team attendants deflating footballs prior to the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts on Jan. 18. Brady has denied any wrongdoing.

Goodell, who imposed the suspension, appointed himself to hear the appeal. Goodell also fined the Patriots $1 million and stripped them of a first-round draft pick next year and a fourth-round selection in 2017.

Brady appealed his suspension during a 10-hour hearing at NFL headquarters in New York on June 23.

“Why it takes over a month, and why it took six months to get to that point before that, and the constant feet-dragging on not just Tom’s issue but all the issues, to me, just seems a bit ridiculous and doesn’t serve the players very well,” Winston said. “But that’s where we’re at now, and we’re just going to have to continue to keep advocating for our players.”

Staff writer Sam Farmer contributed to this report.


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