Just when you thought it was over, it comes back stronger than ever.
After U.S. District Judge Richard Berman ruled back in September 2015 that Patriots QB Tom Brady would not have to serve his four-game suspension for the infamous DeflateGate scandal, a federal appeals court has decided to overturn that ruling and give the victory to the NFL in its battle against the Players Association.
"We hold that the Commissioner properly exercised his broad discretion under the collective bargaining agreement and that his procedural rulings were properly grounded in that agreement and did not deprive Brady of fundamental fairness," the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday in a 2-1 decision in New York.
Once again DeflateGate has come to the forefront, and the discussion as to whether or not Tom Brady was guilty in tampering with the PSI of the footballs used in the playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts in January 2015 has again been reignited.
"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."
Now Roger Goodell has been given a huge victory, and his "especially broad" scope of power in the league has been validated once more...but only for now, as ESPN's Andrew Brandt has mentioned that Brady and his legal team now have two options available to them.
Regardless of what the chances are, there's no doubt that Brady will be fighting to get this suspension overturned all over again. His most recent contract with the Patriots lowered his salary from $9 million to $1 million, which lowers the loss he would've suffered over losing four games worth of pay from over $2 million to over $200,000. But the money is the least of Brady's worries, he'll want those games back.
The NFL released a statement regarding the ruling.
"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."
Now what - if anything - does this suspension mean for Miami? Obviously, it could mean a lot, if it's upheld of course. Miami is set to visit Foxborough during Week 2 of the regular season, which means that the Dolphins would only have to deal with Jimmy Garoppolo at QB rather than the future Hall of Famer.
Of course, tight end Rob Gronkowski will still be there, along with new TE acquisition Martellus Bennett and the usually tough New England defense. By no means should the game be expected to be easy now, but the loss of Brady certainly helps Miami's odds of leaving New England with a "W" on their schedule rather than the "L" that was previously expected.
Dolphins fans are obviously happy that this is happening, but at the same time I imagine there's also the thought that hopefully this all ends soon. DeflateGate happened two seasons ago, and it's time for the battle to end. Hopefully, it goes away quickly this time and we can all move on to different things.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @FLSportDebater
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