Appeals court: Tom Brady must serve 4-game 'Deflategate' suspension
By Associated Press
Apr 25, 2016 at 12:29 PM
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh responds to new reports that the Ravens “tipped off” the Colts about deflated footballs before the AFC Championship game. (Kevin Richardson)
A federal appeals court has ruled that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady must serve a four-game "Deflategate" suspension imposed by the NFL, overturning a lower judge and siding with the league in a battle with the players union.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday in New York. The split decision by a three-judge panel may end the legal debate over the scandal that led to months of football fans arguing over air pressure and the reputation of one of the league's top teams.
It is also likely to fuel a fresh round of debate over what role, if any, the quarterback and top NFL star played in using underinflated footballs at the AFC championship game in January 2015. The Patriots won the contest over the Indianapolis Colts, 45-7, and then won the Super Bowl.
For the time being, the cheating will stop in in Foxborough, Mass. That's the good news that has come out of this "Deflategate" mess and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's nullified suspension.
The three judge panel sided 2-1 with the NFL, saying the league's discipline was properly grounded in the collective bargaining agreement and Brady was treated fairly. Chief Judge Robert Katzmann dissented.
"I am troubled by the Commissioner's decision to uphold the unprecedented four-game suspension," Katzmann said. "The Commissioner failed to even consider a highly relevant alternative penalty."
The appeals court settled the issue well before the start of the 2016 season, avoiding the tension built last year when Brady didn't learn until a week before the season that he would be allowed to start in the Patriots' opener.
Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti issued an emphatic denial of a report alleging that he attempted to exert pressure on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to uphold New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady's four-game suspension.
The league argued that it was fair for Goodell to severely penalize Brady after he concluded the prize quarterback tarnished the game by impeding the NFL's investigation by destroying a cellphone containing nearly 10,000 messages.