10:14am: The NFL Players Association has issued the following statement regarding Brady:
“The NFL Players Association is a labor Union that protects the rights of all of its members and pursues any violations of those rights by any means necessary. We are disappointed with the decision denying a rehearing, as there were clear violations of our collective bargaining agreement by the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Despite today’s result, the track record of this League office when it comes to matters of player discipline is bad for our business and bad for our game. We have a broken system that must be fixed.
We will review all of our options carefully on behalf of Tom Brady and all NFL players.”
9:25am: Though there is no firm decision, the expectation is that Brady will attempt to take his case to the Supreme Court, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Brady will have 90 days to file an appeal with the SCOTUS.
8:45am: The Second United States Circuit Court of Appeals has denied Tom Brady‘s request for a rehearing, Daniel Kaplan of SBJ tweets. With that, it appears that his four-game suspension will stick. Brady’s only recourse now would now be to bring his case before the Supreme Court, but it’s very challenging for anyone to have their case heard on that level.
Still, it’s conceivable that Brady’s legal team could file an appeal with the Supreme Court if only to effectively defer the suspension until the 2017 season. A filing with the Supreme Court could also light a fire under the NFL and force the league office to engage in settlement talks. To date, Roger Goodell & Co. have been steadfast in their refusal to negotiate with Brady’s camp, but team owners have been putting pressure on the NFL to get the Brady story out of the headlines. If faced with another year of Deflategate talk and a possible airing of dirty laundry before the highest federal court in the U.S., the commissioner might finally acquiesce and offer to cut Brady’s suspension in half or nix it entirely.
Brady, of course, is slated to be suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season after a three-judge panel reinstated the ban that was incurred as a result of the Patriots quarterback’s role in the Deflategate controversy. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned the 2015 decision by Judge Richard Berman, stating that Brady’s suspension should be upheld.
The Wells report commissioned by the NFL more than a year ago determined that Brady was “more likely than not” to have been aware of footballs being deflated below their usual levels during the AFC Championship Game against the Colts in January 2015.
If Brady’s four-game suspension is ultimately upheld, he won’t be eligible to return to regular-season action until Sunday, October 9th in Cleveland. The Patriots would be without their starting quarterback for games against the Cardinals, Dolphins, Texans, and Bills in that scenario. Understudy Jimmy Garoppolo would step into the starting role in New England if Brady is forced to miss the first month of the coming season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.