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Added May 2nd, 2016 by Ian
NFL

New England Patriots’ Tom Brady likely to serve four-game NFL suspension

Quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots will now have to serve a four-game suspension at the start of the 2016/17 NFL season according to a U.S. federal appeals court. Brady was originally handed the ban last year after the footballs in the AFC Championship playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts in January, 2015 were found to be underinflated. New England won the contest and then went on to capture the Super Bowl. The Patriots were also fined a million dollars and lost a couple of draft picks as punishment, including their first round selection this year. Brady appealed the decision last year and a lower judge sided with him and overturned the ban.

However, he wasn’t a lucky this time around as the three-person appeals court ruled in favour of the NFL by a count of 2-1. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York stated, “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.” Brady said he doesn’t accept the ruling and may explore further legal options in the scandal known as Deflategate, but it would be a time-consuming and expensive venture. It’s still an option though, so the situation may still drag on for a few more months before the season kicks off later this year.

If Brady does indeed sit out the first four games then Jimmy Garoppolo will likely get the nod to start the Patriots’ opening contest since he’s currently the only other quarterback on the New England roster. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was happy with the court ruling and said Brady’s suspension allows the NFL to protect the integrity of the game according to the league’s collective bargaining agreement with the players’ association. He added that Brady was deservedly banned after the NFL investigated the case. The NFLPA keeps saying that Brady’s right were violated according to the collective bargaining agreement, but the court didn’t buy it.

Brady can ask for another hearing in front of the same panel of judges at the 2nd Circuit Court and another option is to go all the way to the Supreme Court. The NFL has can withhold the four-game suspension, but it can also come to some sort of agreement with Brady and the players’ association if the league wants to stay out of court. As it stands, Brady will miss contests against Arizona, Miami, Houston and Buffalo before returning against Cleveland in week five of the season. The suspension has also changed the NFL betting odds in Las Vegas as the Patriots were the favourites to win the Super Bowl at 6/1 and those odds have now been lowered to 8/1, the same as the Seattle Seahawks.

According to Denny Chin, one of the circuit judges, there was compelling evidence that the footballs were underinflated and Brady also knew about it and even encouraged it. Brady also hampered the league’s investigation of the incident by destroying a mobile phone which contained approximately 10,000 messages on it. Brady was recently signed to a two-year contract extension which saw his salary in 2016 reduced to $1 million from $9 million since it will save him approximately $2 million in lost wages during his suspension.

 
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