“Deflate-gate” hearing begins in New York

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Tom Brady, Quarterback of the New England Patriots August 2009 (Image: MGN Online)

(CNN) — A hearing on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s appeal of his four-game suspension in the “Deflate” case began Tuesday in New York.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is presiding over the hearing despite a request from the NFL Players Association that he recuse himself.

Brady received a four-game suspension after an independent report for the NFL, prepared by New York attorney Ted Wells, determined it was “more probable than not” that the football star was involved in a scheme to deflate footballs below league standards in the January 18 AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.

The NFL confirmed to CNN that Wells, whom the league hired as an independent investigator in the case, was also to attend the hearing. If past appeals hearings are any indication, a final ruling on the appeal will not come for several days, if not weeks, after Tuesday’s hearing.

Allegations that the investigator’s report was flawed

The key question at the hearing will be whether Wells’ report was flawed and based on circumstantial evidence that was mischaracterized.

The NFL Players Association and some news reports have challenged the credibility of the report. And after its release May 6, Brady’s agent, Don Yee, also was highly critical of its findings.

If the findings are upheld, Brady will have to serve the four-game suspension — the first four games of the 2015 season — without pay.

The New England Patriots organization “reluctantly” accepted the punishment handed down by the league. The team was fined $1 million, and it lost a 2016 first-round draft pick and a 2017 fourth-round pick as well.

Goodell has said the team’s acceptance of those penalties will not have a bearing on the outcome of Brady’s appeal.

The-CNN-Wire