NFL suspends Brady 4 games for deflated footballs

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NEW YORK (AP) — Tom Brady, the Super Bowl MVP quarterback who led the New England Patriots to the championship, plans to appeal the NFL's punishment in connection with underinflated footballs played in the conference final.

Brady's agent, Don Yee, said the discipline the NFL handed down Monday is "ridiculous and has no legitimate basis."

The league came down hard on its biggest star and his team as punishment for deflating footballs used in the AFC conference title. Brady has been suspended or the first four games of the season, his team has to pay a $1 million fine and lost two draft picks. Two equipment staffers believed to have carried out the plan, including one who called himself "The Deflator," have been suspended indefinitely.

In a statement, the Patriots said the punishment exceeded any reasonable expectation, adding it was based "completely on circumstantial rather than hard or conclusive evidence."

They pledged their "unconditional support" to Brady and said their "belief has not wavered."

%@AP Links

216-c-09-(Barry Wilner, AP NFL writer)-"their championship franchise"-AP NFL writer Barry Wilner says the NFL is sending a message with the penalties against Tom Brady and the Patriots. (11 May 2015)

<<CUT *216 (05/11/15)££ 00:09 "their championship franchise"

232-c-16-(Warren Levinson, AP correspondent)-"of professional football"-AP correspondent Warren Levinson reports an NFL executive wrote a scathing letter to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. (11 May 2015)

<<CUT *232 (05/11/15)££ 00:16 "of professional football"

218-c-13-(Barry Wilner, AP NFL writer)-"Report did that"-AP NFL writer Barry Wilner says the Wells Report that followed the deflated football investigation was lacking. (11 May 2015)

<<CUT *218 (05/11/15)££ 00:13 "Report did that"

215-c-14-(Barry Wilner, AP NFL writer)-"pick in 2017"-AP NFL writer Barry Wilner says the NFL has come down hard on Tom Brady and the Patriots in the deflated football scandal. (11 May 2015)

<<CUT *215 (05/11/15)££ 00:14 "pick in 2017"

APPHOTO NY170: FILE - In this Jan. 18, 2015, file photo, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady looks to pass during the first half of the NFL football AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts in Foxborough, Mass. The NFL suspended Brady for the first four games on Monday, May 11, 2015, for his role in a scheme to deflate footballs used in the AFC title game. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File) (18 Jan 2015)

<<APPHOTO NY170 (01/18/15)££

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