U.S. Second Circuit - The FindLaw 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Tom Brady Must Be Punished for Deflategate, Says 2nd Circuit

The Second Circuit's Court of Appeals weighed in on the Deflategate controversy and decided that a reinstatement of a four-game suspension against Tom Brady was the proper route. Brady had earlier petitioned a lower district court ruling on due process grounds.

No surprise, the news was met with nodding approval by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell who fast-tracked proceedings against Brady that led to the player's suspension.

Deflategate Abridged

Brady was originally suspended from playing in the first four games of the 2015 seasons because of his alleged role in illegally deflating footballs in the AFC game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts. The district court ruled in favor of Brady upon appeal. With the circuit's recent decision, Brady is back to square one.

Did He or Didn't He? Not for Us.

The circuit's role in the appeal was actually quite limited and did not deal with the factual considerations of whether or not Brady participated in the scheme. This, like every other appeal, was actually already determined several layers below.

Rather, the circuit was concerned only with determining the issue of whether the arbitration proceedings and award met minimum legal standards established in LMRA -- the Labor Management Relations Act. In a 2-1 opinion, the court found that Goodell's actions were within his specified powers and did not deprive Brady of fundamental fairness.

The Sole Dissent

But the sole dissenting judge felt that Brady's rights had been violated because Goodell had apparently considered facts that were not in the original Paul, Weiss, Rifkind investigative report -- the document on which Goodell based his decision to suspend the quarterback.

How Far Will It Go?

It's still unclear how far both sides are willing to take this legal battle, but according to ESPN, either side still has the option to petition for a rehearing or to petition SCOTUS. But frankly, no one really expects this to go to the Supreme Court.

Related Resources: