New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady must serve a four-game “Deflategate” suspension imposed by the NFL, a federal appeals court ruled Monday, overturning a lower judge and siding with the league in a battle with the players union.
A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled 2-to-1 that Commissioner Roger Goodell did not deprive Brady of “fundamental fairness” with his procedural rulings. The split decision may end the legal debate over the scandal that led to months of football fans arguing over air pressure and the reputation of one of the league’s top teams.
It is also likely to fuel a fresh round of debate over what role, if any, the quarterback and top NFL star played in using underinflated footballs at the AFC championship game in January 2015. The Patriots won the contest over the Indianapolis Colts, 45-7, and then won the Super Bowl.
The ruling can be appealed to the full 2nd Circuit or to the U.S. Supreme Court, but it would be a steep, costly and time-consuming climb.