New England Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, prevailed in his battle to have his four-game suspension erased on Thursday– a federal judge reversed a ruling by Commissioner Roger Goodell to bench one of the league’s biggest stars in a dispute over deflating footballs he used in a championship game back in a January.
Judge Richard M. Berman of Federal District Court in Manhattan did not rule on whether Brady tampered with the footballs in a bid for competitive advantage.
Instead, the primary focus was whether the collective bargaining agreement between the N.F.L. and the players union gave Goodell the authority to carry out the suspension, and whether Brady was treated fairly during his attempt to have his suspension overturned, according to New York Times.
In a 40-page document with the decision of Judge Berman, found numerous “significant legal deficiencies” in the Tom Brady’s case, ruled that the N.F.L player was treated unfairly and could not be suspended for deflating footballs because he was not aware of his behavior could possibly to the kind of punishment he received.
The judge referred to the equipment handlers who may have actually deflated the balls, in an apparent attempt to give him a better grip on them was not enough to suspend Brady of the field.
“The court finds that Brady had no notice that he could receive a four-game suspension for general awareness of ball deflation by others or participation in any scheme to deflate footballs, and noncooperation with the ensuing investigation,” said Berman. “No N.F.L. policy or precedent notifies players that they may be disciplined (much less suspended) for general awareness of misconduct by others.”
The N.F.L. said it would appeal the decision, but league officials said they would not seek an injunction that would keep Brady off the field for the Patriots’ season-opening game next Thursday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to New York Times.
He may even take the field at the Patriots’ final preseason game, on Thursday night, because under N.F.L. rules suspended players can play in preseason contests.