Tom Brady suspension upheld, legal battle likely

By Vincent Frank

It was announced on Tuesday that the four-game suspension the NFL levied against New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady stemming from his alleged role in Deflategate has been upheld.

Here’s the full statement from the league regarding the decision:

“In the opinion informing Brady that his appeal had been denied, Commissioner Goodell emphasized important new information disclosed by Brady and his representatives in connection with the hearing.

On or shortly before March 6, the day that Tom Brady met with independent investigator Ted Wells and his colleagues, Brady directed that the cell phone he had used for the prior four months be destroyed. He did so even though he was aware that the investigators had requested access to text messages and other electronic information that had been stored on that phone. During the four months that the cell phone was in use, Brady had exchanged nearly 10,000 text messages, none of which can now be retrieved from that device. The destruction of the cell phone was not disclosed until June 18, almost four months after the investigators had first sought electronic information from Brady.

Based on the Wells Report and the evidence presented at the hearing, Commissioner Goodell concluded in his decision that Brady was aware of, and took steps to support, the actions of other team employees to deflate game footballs below the levels called for by the NFL’s Official Playing Rules.

The commissioner found that Brady’s deliberate destruction of potentially relevant evidence went beyond a mere failure to cooperate in the investigation and supported a finding that he had sought to hide evidence of his own participation in the underlying scheme to alter the footballs.”

In what has been a long drawn-out legal process between the NFL Players Association and the league office in New York City, commissioner Roger Goodell decided that Brady’s original suspension was justified due to his alleged violations in the lead up to the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts this past January.

Considering the union’s stance on this matter, especially after bringing in hard-hitting outside council Jeffrey Kessler, has been one representing an all-out fight against the league, it remains to be seen how Brady will seek to completely overturn the suspension in arbitration. Though, that type of legal battle would likely draw on beyond the first four weeks of the season. If the union were to continue its battle, an immediate injunction seeking to set aside Brady’s suspension would have to be sought.

The two sides had reportedly been engaged in discussions to reduce Brady’s suspension, but a deal obviously wasn’t met.

There will be much more to this story as both sides respond to Goodell’s ruling.

What we do know now is that Brady and the union will take this matter to court.

Photo: USA Today Sports