Tom Brady appeal of Deflategate suspension begins at NFL headquarters

NEW YORK -- Tom Brady and representatives from the players' association are meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell at NFL headquarters Tuesday as the New England quarterback appeals his four-game suspension.

Brady is testifying under oath, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

It's a common practice in disciplinary hearings for testimony to be under oath and to have the proceedings transcribed verbatim. While there is no legal penalty for lying in an NFL hearing, having the witnesses questioned under oath preserves a record of the proceedings in case the entire issue ends up in court.

Brady and the NFL Players Association are expected to take the case to federal court if the NFL does not reduce his suspension.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who is now out of the country, wrote an affidavit to be introduced into Tuesday's appeal, supporting Brady's character, league sources told Schefter.

Brady's defense team was given four hours Tuesday to present its entire case. The proceedings are expected to wrap up Tuesday and not continue Thursday, which was set aside as the day for the hearing to continue if needed, a source told Schefter.

Brady was suspended by the league for his role in the use of deflated footballs in the New England Patriots' AFC Championship Game win over the Indianapolis Colts. Brady arrived at the NFL's Park Avenue offices Tuesday morning, as did attorney Jeffrey Kessler, who is leading Brady's defense.

The meeting was moved to the basement of the league's headquarters to accommodate the approximately 40 people in attendance. A throng of media and several fans supporting Brady are standing outside the building.

The NFLPA had asked Goodell to recuse himself from hearing the appeal, arguing he could not be impartial and might be called as a witness. But Goodell said it was his responsibility to oversee the hearing to protect the integrity of the league.

Attorney Ted Wells, whose investigation into the deflation of Patriots footballs led to severe penalties handed down by the NFL, will be present during the hearing, league and union sources told ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

Based on the league-sanctioned Wells report, Brady was suspended and the Patriots were fined $1 million and docked a pair of draft picks.

Wells will be available to answer questions from both Brady's side and Goodell, who will ultimately decide whether the suspension will stand, be reduced or vacated, sources told ESPN.

In a four-page letter sent to the NFL on May 14 by NFLPA general counsel Tom DePaso, key points of Brady's appeal were detailed.

Brady's counsel will contend that Goodell violated the collective bargaining agreement by delegating authority to executive vice president Troy Vincent to hand down Brady's punishment.

Brady's counsel also plans to argue that the penalties for Brady are "grossly inconsistent" with the league's past discipline of similar alleged conduct.

In addition, Brady's counsel will detail how the Wells report "grasps at dubious, contradictory and mischaracterized circumstantial evidence." Because of this, it will be argued that the report is a "legally inadequate basis upon which to impose unprecedented discipline."

ESPN Patriots reporter Mike Reiss and The Associated Press contributed to this report.