Following a seven month debacle that has made the NFL nearly the laughing stock in professional sports, Judge Berman issued his ruling today, tossing Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for Deflate Gate and setting up the likely NFL appeal.
Federal Judge Richard M. Berman issued his ruling today, saying that the four-game ban on Tom Brady for his alleged involvement in Deflate Gate would be vacated. The NFL, while notably frustrated by this ruling, noted it was a setback and assured the public that they would appeal, setting the stage for an even longer ensuing legal battle that could set a new legal precedent.
During his ruling, Judge Berman noted that the Ted Wells report had scant, if any, evidence directly linking Tom Brady to the deflating of footballs.
The fiasco began during the AFC Conference Championship game in January, when the Patriots hosted the Colts, with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. The game ended in a blowout, and the suspected footballs (which were deflated against the league mandated 12.5 PSI levels) that had been altered were removed before the start of the second half.
Since that time, it’s been a three-ring circus for the NFL, which has tried to vilify one its most winningest quarterbacks, who has vehemently denied any involvement or wrongdoing, and who has maintained his innocence throughout.
Following league commissioner Rodger Goodell handing down a fine and suspension, Brady immediately moved to appeal it in federal court. When the two sides were unable to reach a settlement, something that was greatly urged by the presiding judge, he came back and made his ruling, as promised, before the opening season game.
During early proceedings, Berman questioned the NFL’s motives from the start.
“What is evidence of scheme or conspiracy that covers the January 18 game? I’m having trouble with that,” he said.
With the latest ruling, pending an NFL appeal, Brady will be able to suit up and take the field on opening day, when the Patriots host the Steelers on September 10th.
In the ensuing pandemonium, a football that was used during the alleged offense recently fetched $44k at an auction, setting a new record, and telling of the parody that’s been made of the NFL because of this head office-versus-player feud.
In fact, since the very start of the case itself, Berman warned the NFL that they had a weak case against Brady, informing them that the precedent was that matters like this that were not arbitrated by a neutral party (the appeal was arbitrated by Goodell, who was the same person who issued the punishment) usually get tossed.
Sticking to his guns, today was testament that Berman means business.
But, the PR nightmare for the NFL and Brady has not come to a conclusion yet. Pending appeals, it’s still anyone’s game. This effectively means that we could all still be yapping about Deflate Gate come February. Given the most recent power rankings, it’s possible that the Patriots could be in the Super Bowl again when this whole matter goes before a new judge.
What do you think about Judge Berman’s ruling? Do you think Tom Brady was involved in Delate Gate? Do you feel like the NFL has overstepped its boundaries? Or do think that this is a fair and just ruling and the matter should end here? Let us know in your comments.