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NFLPA To Troy Vincent: You Have No Authority To Suspend Tom Brady

BOSTON (CBS) -- The NFLPA is pulling zero punches with regard to fighting Roger Goodell, Troy Vincent and the NFL.

The NFLPA released its letter sent to Vincent, in which the NFLPA argues that Vincent has no authority to issue punishment to a player for conduct detrimental to the league, and therefore the punishment must be taken away.

"You have no authority to impose discipline on Mr. Brady under the CBA, and such discipline must therefore be set aside," the letter states.

The punishment handed down to Brady was decided by Vincent, with Goodell merely "authorizing" Vincent's decision.

In a footnote on the first page of the letter, the NFLPA directly attacks Vincent's ability to handle such a responsibility.

"We also note that one arbitrator has previously found that you, in particular, are unfamiliar with proper NFL discipline procedures and have no role in imposing discipline," the letter states.

The letter -- which is signed by NFLPA general counsel Tom DePaso -- deemed the four-game suspension handed down to Brady to be "grossly inconsistent with the League's prior disciplinary treatment of similar alleged conduct, including lack of cooperation and not complying the League rules regarding game balls or other equipment. The law of the shop from Bounty, Rice, and other proceedings requires that this unfair and inconsistent treatment of Mr. Brady -- an exponential change in the severity of the punishment without notice or due process -- be vacated.

"Indeed, no player in the history of the NFL has ever received anything approaching this level of discipline for similar behavior -- a change in sanctions squarely forbidden by the CBA and the law of the shop."

The letter states that Brady's punishment was "premised solely on the Wells report, which contains insufficient evidence to find that Mr. Brady committed any violation of NFL rules."

"The Report -- based on speculative possibilities piled on top of speculative possibilities and a disregard of contrary evidence -- is a legally inadequate basis upon which to impose this unprecedented discipline," the letter states.

The NFLPA also wrote that it plans to call both Roger Goodell and Vincent to testify in the appeal hearing, and alleges that a "sting operation" took place the night of the AFC Championship Game.

"You also will both be required to testify about when you became aware of the Colts ' complaints about ball deflation and what decisions and steps were thereafter taken to set up what may have been a 'sting operation' to try to implicate the Patriots and Mr. Brady," the letter states. "The latter conduct would present an additional ground for setting aside the discipline imposed."

The NFLPA concludes that Vincent is "inherently biased" on the matter, due to his game-day involvement in the events surrounding the matter.

The NFLPA also stated very clearly that Goodell cannot serve as an unbiased arbiter in the appeal hearing.

"[T]his letter will serve as a formal demand that the Commissioner follow the [Ray] Rice precedent and appoint an independent person to serve as arbitrator over Mr. Brady's appeal," the letter states. "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."

Brady officially filed for the appeal of his suspension on Thursday. The NFL announced Thursday night that Goodell would be hearing the appeal.

The full NFLPA letter is available here.


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