The federal appeals court ruled Monday that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will serve a four game suspension for his alleged involvement in deflating footballs during the 2014-15 NFL season.
"Our role is not to determine for ourselves whether Brady participated in a scheme to deflate footballs or whether the suspension imposed by the Commissioner should have been for three games or five games or none at all. Nor is it our role to second-guess the arbitrator's procedural rulings," Judge Barrington D. Parker wrote in the majority opinion. "Our obligation is limited to determining whether the arbitration proceedings and award met the minimum legal standards established by the Labor Management Relations Act."
The fight between Tom Brady and the NFL is far from over. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that sources have told him the four-time Super Bowl champion is not accepting the decision. Schefter claims Brady is reportedly exploring all his legal options. The Patriots have yet to issue a statement on the matter.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was satisfied with the court’s decision. Goodell, as you may know, has been a thorn in Brady’s side since the situation arose.
"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," the NFL said in a statement. "That authority has been recognized by many courts and has been expressly incorporated into every collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and NFLPA for the past 40 years."
At this point there are two options for Brady. He can either appeal for a rehearing in front of the same panel, or take his case to the Supreme Court. However the only problem with both of these actions is that time is not on his side. A Supreme Court case takes a long time to process. They do not go by the schedule of a football game.
If Brady and the Patriots decide they do not want to take the case to the Supreme Court they can also look to the NFL for a reduced sentence. The NFL has the power to reduce the suspension in order to avoid further appeals if Brady agrees to their terms.
Brady and company will have a much tougher battle this go around because Judge Barrington D. Parker is not buying the excuses.
Parker told Brandt and Reiss that Brady’s timely cellphone destruction raised the stakes “from air in a football to compromising the integrity of a proceeding that the commissioner had convened. Mr. Brady's explanation of that (cellphone) made no sense whatsoever."
As of right now, Brady is scheduled to miss games against the Cardinals, Dolphins, Texans and Bills. The Patriots may go 2-2 during this stretch due to their ability to adapt. However make no mistake, Patriots backup quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, will certainly have his hands full. He only completed one pass in the five games he played last season.