Judge Overturns Tom Brady’s Suspension

I’m sure we’re far from over with the whole Deflategate scandal that’s been hogging the sports feed for the past few months. If you need a refresher on all of that, I did a story when the investigation report was made public as well as when the announcement of Brady’s suspension. I said even then that a four game suspension seemed a bit harsh for an infraction that Tom Brady possibly knew about and the report even said the most Brady was guilty of was putting pressure on the equipment staff to make sure the Patriot’s footballs are exactly how Brady likes them, which is deflated right at the league limit at 12.5 psi.

The suspension was carried out by the NFL and set at 4 games, again that seemed harsh for such a dumb infraction that, honestly, didn’t do much to sway the AFC Championship game (Patriot’s offensive footballs weren’t on the field when the Colts were unable to score against the Patriots, just saying). Also, this seemed odd considering the NFL’s original penalty for players guilty of domestic violence was a 2 game suspension (that was changed last year after public outcry for a harsher penalty) and it does put things into perspective on the NFL’s priorities.

Either way, the Patriots were faced with a problem because their backup hasn’t exactly looked great this preseason and four games is definitely the difference between making and missing the playoffs. So Tom Brady fought and was overturned until it was taken to court.

Judge Richard Berman ruled earlier today for Tom Brady’s four game suspension be overturned based on the idea that Brady was not treated fairly in the suspension process but did not rule on whether or not Brady was guilty of knowing about the deflated footballs. The judge said that he noted “several legal deficiencies” and that Brady was unaware such an infraction would lead to a suspension.

Judge Berman said the following:
“The court finds that Brady had no notice that he could receive a four-game suspension for general awareness of ball deflation by others or participation in any scheme to deflate footballs, and noncooperation with the ensuing investigation.”
“No N.F.L. policy or precedent notifies players that they may be disciplined (much less suspended) for general awareness of misconduct by others.”

The league originally argued that the suspension was justified mixed with the allegations that Brady destroyed a cell phone that had evidence on it that he knew of the deflation however, the judge responded with, “there is no evidence of a record of past suspensions based purely on obstructing a league investigation.”

In regular people terms, the judge was uninterested in what Tom Brady did or didn’t do but was more concerned with the legality of how the NFL handled the punishment. So Patriots fans can rest assure that Brady will be on the field for their opening game on September 10th. The NFL will appeal the ruling but will not seek an injunction that would prevent Brady from missing any games during the appeals process.

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