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Legally Speaking: Tom Brady’s options limited after court reinstates suspension

It’s safe to say Tom Brady and the New England Patriots aren’t happy with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The three-judge panel reinstated Brady’s four-game suspension in the case affectionately known as “Deflategate.”

The appellate court wrote, “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. Accordingly, we REVERSE the judgment of the district court and REMAND with instructions to confirm the award.”

The ruling means the Patriots could be without Brady when they travel to the desert to face the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1.

Brady and the NFLPA can appeal the recent decision to the United States Supreme Court and ask to put the suspension on hold. It’s possible SCOTUS could accept the case but unlikely.

I think it’s unlikely because the court doesn’t usually accept a case unless there is a significant issue of importance to our country. A privately-contracted, heavily-negotiated, employment contract probably isn’t one, though stranger things have happened.

How did we get here?

To refresh, Brady and the Patriots were slapped with a fine, loss of draft picks and a four-game suspension back on May 11, 2015 for deflating game balls in the Jan. 18, 2015 AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts.

The Patriots accepted the punishment to the team but Tom Brady and the NFLPA opted to appeal his suspension. Goodell decided to exercise the power given to him under the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and serve as the “judge” in Brady’s appeal hearing.

On July 28, Goodell issued a final decision upholding the four-game suspension. Brady and the NFLPA filed a lawsuit in federal district court on the heels of Goodell’s decision.

Judge Richard Berman ruled in favor of Brady. In other words, judge Berman found that Goodell abused his power and discretion under the CBA and was unfair on multiple levels. The NFL and Goodell obviously disagreed and appealed.

The NFL just won their appeal, now you can expect Brady to appeal again.


Because he has nothing to lose.

Will he win?


In my opinion, he should accept the decision and serve the suspension.

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