The appeal process in the NFL seems to be a tricky thing. When a player is suspended or fined by the league, and the said player appeals the ruling, it goes through a process. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell could oversee the appeal, but unlike in years past, there is also a board of executives and former players who could also oversee a player's appeal process. How long does it take for an appeal to be heard? Apparently it depends on the player and the team.
When it was announced Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell would be suspended for the first three games of the 2015 season and fined a paycheck, Bell and his agent announced they would be appealing the ruling.
Just a few weeks ago, when the 'Deflategate' scandal reached it's pinnacle, Tom Brady was suspended for the first four games of 2015, and the New England Patriots were docked draft picks and a hefty fine on top of the previously stated sanctions. The Patriots organization decided not to appeal the ruling, but Brady and his agent filed the appropriate paperwork to begin the appeal process.
With Bell's appeal process beginning months before Brady's, one would think Bell's appeal would be heard and announced prior to Brady's. Nonetheless, when Bell was asked on the first day of OTAs regarding the status of his appeal, Bell had no news stating he didn't know when his appeal would be heard.
My thought was maybe the NFL appeal process is like sitting in line at the local DMV. Sometimes you just have to wait your turn. Then I see this tweet on my Twitter feed Friday:
To say I was a bit perturbed is an understatement. Before I go any further, Bell's appeal could be announced in the coming days, and the NFL insiders are simply focusing on Brady, but I wouldn't be shocked if Brady's appeal isn't the first one on the docket when the process begins. After all, we are talking about Tom Brady who plays for the New England Patriots.
It has been well documented Goodell's 'best friend forever' status with Patriots' owner Robert Kraft, and if the commissioner is trying to hide any favoritism towards his friend's organization he certainly isn't trying very hard. Some might say I'm nothing more than a salty Steelers fan disturbed by the Patriots' undeniable stranglehold on the Steelers in the past decade, but instead I'd declare myself a football fan who simply wants things to be handled the way they should be within the league office.
Tom Brady is Tom Brady. I get it, but even when the NFL world is staring at the league for how it will respond in this case it shouldn't impact the status or process for the way they handle business. Is Brady important to the Patriots? Without a doubt. Is Le'Veon Bell as important to the Steelers? Anyone who pays attention knows the answer is a resounding 'yes'.
Is fairness too much to ask?