NFL Wire News

Judge overturns Brady’s four-game suspension


The Sports Xchange

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension was nullified by U.S. District Court Judge Richard M. Berman, clearing Brady to get back to football and his starting job with the defending Super Bowl champions one week before they open the regular season against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Associated Press first reported the decision, although specifics of the ruling were not immediately available.

Brady was suspended four regular-season games by the NFL for his alleged knowledge of the intentional reduction of football air pressure in the AFC Championship game in January. Brady also was uncooperative in the opinion of the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell during investigator Ted Wells’ search for details.

It was another public and costly defeat, in terms of public relations and legal costs, for the NFL. Goodell’s reputation has been marred in recent years by his handling of on- and off-field discipline, including admission of getting the Ray Rice punishment wrong initially and having former commissioner Paul Tagliabue overturn Goodell-issued suspensions in the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal.

Goodell said in his decision to uphold the four-game suspension after hearing Brady’s appeal on June 23 that Brady intentionally destroyed a cell phone on or shortly after being asked for access to the device. Goodell upheld the suspension on July 29, prompting Brady and the NFLPA to file suit in federal court.

Berman has continued to push for a settlement in the dispute, saying it would be “rational and logical.”

The NFLPA and Brady asked the judge to void the suspension. At a court hearing on August 24, Berman told the NFL there was precedent for judges to toss out penalties issued by arbitrators.

Berman said at the final court hearing between the two sides on August 31 that he would have a decision before Friday.

The NFL is expected to appeal the decision.

Brady would have missed the Patriots’ first four regular-season games: the Sept. 10 home opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sept. 20 at the Buffalo Bills and Sept. 27 at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars. After a Week 4 bye, the Patriots visit the Dallas Cowboys on Oct 11. Second-year quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo would start in place of Brady.

Brady would have been eligible to return in Week 6 at Indianapolis in a Sunday night game against the team that helped pave the way for the investigation.

After routing the Colts 45-7 to advance to the Super Bowl, the Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 to win their fourth title.

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