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The NFL players union on Tuesday formally asked Commissioner Roger Goodell to recuse himself as the arbitrator in Tom Brady’s appeal of his four-game suspension in Deflate-Gate.

The NFL Players Association said that Goodell could not be impartial because he himself will be “a central witness.”

It also cited his “evident partiality with respect to the Wells report,” which concluded that New England Patriots personnel probably let air out of footballs and that Brady probably knew about it.

“The players also believe that the Commissioner's history of inconsistently issuing discipline against our players makes him ill-suited to hear this appeal in a fair-minded manner,” the union said in a statement.

Goodell had the option of appointing an independent arbitrator for the appeal but elected to hear it himself.

An NFL spokesman declined comment. It was announced earlier on Tuesday that the commissioner will make public statements on Wednesday afternoon following a league meeting.

Besides Brady’s suspension, the Patriots were fined $1 million and stripped of two draft picks. Robert Kraft, who owns the team, said earlier Tuesday that he disagreed with the team punishment but would accept it.


— Erin McClam