Tom Brady has been accused of knowingly ordering that the footballs he use in the AFC Championship game be deflated below legal PSI levels.

The effect of such an act, is debatable. The punishment? Two lost draft picks, $1 million and four games.

Recently Patriots owner Robert Kraft announced that he would not fight the NFL for the fine and draft pick punishment. That much was reluctantly accepted. The four game suspension? That is in Tom Brady and the Player's Union's hands.

Tom Brady plans to appeal the suspension, which is set for June 23rd. The Union planned to call NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as a witness, and asked that he recuse himself as arbitrator. Today he issues a letter rejecting that request.

"I have publicly expressed my appreciation to Mr. Wells and his colleagues for their thorough and independent work," Goodell states in the letter. "But that does not mean that I am wedded to their conclusions or to their assessment of the facts. Nor does it mean that, after considering the evidence and argument presented during the appeal, I may not reach a different conclusion about Mr. Brady's conduct or the discipline imposed."

The effects of this could be negligble or gigantic.

If Jeffrey Kessler and the Union are able to present new evidence not covered in the controversial Wells report, Goddell could very well reduce or eliminate the four game suspension for Brady. A key element of Brady's punishment was that he did not fully cooperate, refusing to release his personal phone and text records.

If the appeal is unsuccessful, the next step after that may include a lawsuit, which would force a truly neutral party to examine the evidence against the Patriots star. Evidence the Union, and many Patriots fans, believe to be excessively flimsy.

A lawsuit would obviously create a pretty big mess, and a big distraction for Brady, potentially in the middle of a key part of the season. It's doubtful Brady would want to take things that far. The Union, however, reportedly would like to use this case as a means of reducing the autonomous disciplinary power they allowed Goodell to be granted during the last CBA negotiations.

You can find the full letter here.

Michael Saver 6/02/2015 04:08:00 PM Edit

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