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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Brady’s Four-Game Suspension Reinstated

Enough about the Deflate-gate ruling. Well, not quite yet.

Last year, Tom Brady’s original four-game suspension was overturned by Judge Richard Berman, leaving Patriot fans ecstatic with the great news. At that point, much of the public assumed the decision was final.

Following the original decision, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell decided to appeal, taking it to the United States Court of Appeals. On April 25, the Federal Appeals Court reinstated the four-game suspension that was originally imposed by Goodell and the NFL.

Of the three judges involved in the case, two ruled in favor of the League (Judges Denny Chinn and Barrington Parker), while one ruled in favor of Brady (Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann).

“We hold that the Commissioner properly exercised his board discretion under the collective bargaining agreement and that his procedural rulings were properly founded in that agreement and did not deprive Brady of fundamental fairness. Accordingly, we reverse the judgement of the District Court and remand with instructions to confirm the award,” as read in the court’s statement.

This was a must-win case for the NFL. If Goodell lost this decision to Brady, other NFL players would have a blueprint to appeal to any of Goodell’s future rulings. He needed this ruling to reaffirm his power as commissioner; a loss would have been catastrophic.

“The Court’s opinion will affect the rights of every player in the NFL,” the court filing said. “Accordingly, the NFL Player’s Association (NFLPA) and its members would benefit from additional time to analyze the implications of the decision for labor-management relations between the NFL and the NFLPA.”

Under the current collective bargaining agreement, Goodell has the authority to supersede League punishments at his discretion when it involves the integrity of the game. This is an extremely vague clause within the contract, which clearly benefits those in power at the NFL.

The NFL released a statement, saying, “We are pleased the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled today that the Commissioner properly exercised his authority under the collective bargaining agreement to act in cases involving the integrity of the game. That authority has been recognized by many courts and has been expressly incorporated into every collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and (the NFLPA) for the past 40 years.”
Despite the ruling, it looks like Brady and his team of lawyers aren’t finished either. Brady has the opportunity to reappeal the ruling and bring them back to court for a third time. The NFLPA released the following statement after the court ruling on the behalf of Brady: “Our union will carefully review the decision, consider all of our options, continue to fight for players’ rights, and for the integrity of the game.”