The U.S. Appeals Court recently ruled that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady must serve his four-game suspension for his role in the “Deflategate” scandal. What is worse for Brady is that he will be unable to move forward with a settlement with the National Football League (NFL).
A three-judge panel ruled 2-1 that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell did not deprive the quarterback of “fundamental fairness” with his procedural rulings. Judge Barrington D. Parker, writing for the majority, said its review of arbitration awards “is narrowly circumscribed and highly deferential — indeed, among the most deferential in the law.” Parker added that the decision was not about how many games Brady should serve for his role in “Deflategate” or the arbitrator’s handling of the matter, but rather if the proceedings and award “met the minimum legal standards established by the Labor Management Act.”
The controversy over Brady’s use of underinflated footballs came to light after the Patriots defeated the Indianapolis Colts, 45-7, in the AFC Championship game. Several Colts players noticed that the footballs felt like they were not fully inflated. New England later went on to defeat the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl.
After a lengthy investigation, Goodell announced that he would suspend Brady four games. He cited Brady’s refusal to cooperate with the league, thereby impeding he investigation, and destroying a cell phone containing almost 10,000 messages.
On September 2015, Senior Judge Richard M. Berman of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York ruled against the NFL and allowed Brady to play the entire season. The appeals court reversed the lower court’s decision on April 25. As part of his suspension, Brady will miss the first four games of the 2016 season.
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