Brady goes on of­fen­sive

Pa­tri­ots quar­ter­back files suit to stop sus­pen­sion over de­flated foot­balls

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY JIMMY GOLEN

Tom Brady took the fight over his “De­flate­gate” sus­pen­sion to so­cial media and fed­eral court on Wed­nes­day, and New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots owner Robert Kraft backed the three-time Su­per Bowl MVP, say­ing “I was wrong to put my faith in the league.”

One day af­ter NFL Com­mis­sioner Roger Good­ell re­jected Brady’s ap­peal, the star quar­ter­back posted a 507-word state­ment on Face­book with his firmest de­nial yet, writ­ing: “I did noth­ing wrong.” Kraft fol­lowed with an un­sched­uled ad­dress to the media gath­ered at Gil­lette Sta­dium for the open­ing of train­ing camp and the team’s de­fence of its fourth Su­per Bowl ti­tle.

“It is com­pletely in­com­pre­hen­si­ble to me that the league con­tin­ues to take steps to dis­par­age one of its all-time great play­ers, and a man for whom I have the ut­most re­spect,” Kraft said. “I have come to the con­clu­sion that this was never about do­ing what was fair and just.”

Just be­fore the courts closed in Min­nesota, the NFL Play­ers As­so­ci­a­tion asked U.S. Dis­trict Judge David Doty to over­turn Brady’s four-game sus­pen­sion — or at least put it on hold un­til the case can be heard. The union asked Doty to throw out the sus­pen­sion be­fore Sept. 4; that would keep Brady from miss­ing any prac­tices be­fore the Pa­tri­ots’ Sept. 10 sea­son-opener against the Pittsburgh Steel­ers.

“We need to free him up for that first week,” union at­tor­ney Jeffrey Kessler told The As­so­ci­ated Press. “We don’t be­lieve this dis­ci­pline can ever be sus­tained.”

The law­suit ar­gues that the NFL made up its rules as it went along and mis­ap­plied the ones that were al­ready on the books.

In an in­ter­view with the AP, Kessler called it “of­fen­sive” that the league ac­cused Brady of de­stroy­ing his cell­phone to ob­struct the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, a claim NFL Com­mis­sioner Roger Good­ell made in up­hold­ing the sus- pen­sion on Tues­day.

“We be­lieve they high­lighted this is­sue solely to in­flame the public, to sug­gest there is some se­cret in­for­ma­tion be­ing with­held, and that’s wrong,” Kessler said. “It’s an un­fair char­ac­ter as­sas­si­na­tion of a player who has done noth­ing but be a model citizen for this league.”

Brady de­fended the cell­phone swap on Face­book.

“To sug­gest that I de­stroyed a phone to avoid giv­ing the NFL in­for­ma­tion it re­quested is com­pletely wrong,” he said. “There is no ‘smok­ing gun’ and this con­tro­versy is man­u­fac­tured to dis­tract from the fact they have zero ev­i­dence of wrong­do­ing.”

AP PHOTO

New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots quar­ter­back Tom Brady holds up the game ball af­ter the team’s NFL di­vi­sional play­off win over the Bal­ti­more Ravens in Foxborough, Mass., on Jan. 10.

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