NEW YORK (AP) — Noted labor attorney Jeffrey Kessler will aid in the players' union's planned appeal of Tom Brady's suspension.
The New England Patriots quarterback was suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the 2015 season for his role in the deflating of footballs. He has until 5 p.m. EDT on Thursday to file the appeal. His lawyer, Don Yee, and the union have said they will appeal.
Kessler has litigated some of the most famous sports antitrust cases, including working for a variety of player unions. He was instrumental in getting NFL free agency established and had a key role in helping end the league's lockout of the players in 2011.
Along with Brady's suspension, the NFL fined the Patriots $1 million Monday and stripped them of a 2016 first-round draft choice and a 2017 fourth-rounder.
But Kessler would be involved only in Brady's case.
Kessler most recently represented Adrian Peterson in his appeal to reduce his league suspension for violating the personal conduct policy. Peterson served his full suspension through April 15, albeit on the commissioner's exempt list, where he was paid his salary. The running back has been reinstated, although he has not reported to the Minnesota Vikings.
An NFL-sanctioned investigation by attorney Ted Wells asserted it was "more probable than not" that Brady "was at least generally aware" of plans by two team employees to prepare the balls to his liking, below the league-mandated minimum of 12.5 pounds per square inch. Wells also noted that Brady refused to turn over phone records. Wells said he had told Brady and Yee he did not need to see his phone and would have accepted a list of communications.
Brady would actually miss the first five weeks of the season because the Patriots have a bye. He would miss four game checks, totaling about $1.88 million.