Tom Brady’s defense had no shortage of ammunition heading into the June 23 suspension appeal hearing for the New England Patriots quarterback.
The full transcript of that appeal — which was heard by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell — was released Tuesday afternoon. The transcript details the lengths to which Brady’s defense, led by Jeffrey Kessler, went to prove two things: One, that Brady was innocent of any wrongdoing, and two, that Brady’s four-game suspension was too harsh and inconsistent with the NFL’s past discipline.
One inconsistency pointed out by the Brady defense is in regards to former NFL quarterback Brett Favre. The former QB was investigated in 2008 for allegedly sending lewd texts and photos to a former New York Jets gameday employee when Favre played for the Jets. The NFL eventually settled — in 2010 — on a $50,000 fine for failing to cooperate with investigators.
When Goodell upheld Brady’s four-game suspension, much of his decision centered around Brady’s destroyed cellphone. That’s despite the fact investigator Ted Wells said in public and during the appeal that he wasn’t going to force Brady to give up his phone.
With all that being said, here’s what Kessler had to say during the appeal, according to the transcript.
“So Brett Favre in an incident you may remember involving sexting on his phone, he was found to have refused to cooperate in the investigation and was fined $50,000,” Kessler said.
Kessler argued that Favre’s discipline set the tone for similar offenses. That was reinforced by former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue’s decision to eliminate Anthony Hargrove’s suspension for his alleged role in Bountygate in 2012.
“When that came up in bounty, you will remember Mr. Hargrove was fined — was suspended; — I’m sorry, for refusing to cooperate in the investigation,” Kessler reminded. “Commissioner Tagliabue said the following with respect to that: He reversed Mr. Hargrove’s suspension and he said, ‘Although not entirely comparable to the present matter,’ talking about the Favre situation for Mr. Hargrove, ‘This illustrates NFL’s practice of fining, not suspending, players for serious cooperation violations of this type.’
“That’s the history,” Kessler continued. “It’s been a fine. So if Mr. Nash said I still think it’s cooperation, it should be a fine, that would be one thing. But there is no history in the light of bounty, I don’t see any way under fair and consistent a suspension would be imposed just on this cooperation issue.”
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