1:52pm: The NFL has officially filed its appeal, according to Andrew Brandt of TheMMQB.com (via Twitter). Brandt confirms that the league didn’t request an injunction, so there are no obstacles for Brady playing in Week 1.
11:26am: The NFL Players Association was quick to issue a statement following Judge Richard Berman’s decision to nullify Tom Brady‘s suspension, and now commissioner Roger Goodell has released a statement of his own. According to Goodell, the league – as expected – will appeal Berman’s ruling, continuing the litigation process. Here’s the full statement, via the NFL’s website:
“We are grateful to Judge Berman for hearing this matter, but respectfully disagree with today’s decision. We will appeal today’s ruling in order to uphold the collectively bargained responsibility to protect the integrity of the game. The commissioner’s responsibility to secure the competitive fairness of our game is a paramount principle, and the league and our 32 clubs will continue to pursue a path to that end. While the legal phase of this process continues, we look forward to focusing on football and the opening of the regular season.”
While the NFL will continue to fight the DeflateGate battle in court, it doesn’t appear the league will seek an injunction to prevent Brady from playing early in the season. That means that, barring Berman’s decision being overturned and the case being finalized before the end of the year, which seems unlikely, Brady will be able to play the entire season for the Patriots.
According to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link), there are at least some team owners who would have preferred to see the NFL stand down, rather than continuing the appeals process. Presumably, those owners don’t want the DeflateGate saga to draw attention away from the action on the field, with the regular season around the corner. According to Cole, some owners are also becoming more interested in retooling the NFL’s discipline process.