Brady's four-game NFL suspension over-ruled

US district judge throws out the punishment handed to New England Patriots' quarterback for his role in 'Deflategate'.

    New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's "Deflategate" suspension was thrown out by a federal judge in New York, following a seven-month standoff between the National Football League and its players union.

    US District Judge Richard Berman vacated NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's decision in July to uphold Brady's four-game suspension over his alleged role in a scheme to deflate footballs used during a January playoff victory.

    Berman said Goodell went too far in affirming punishment of the Super Bowl winning quarterback. Brady has insisted he played no role in a conspiracy to deflate footballs below the allowable limit at last season's AFC championship game.

    The suspension was "premised upon several significant legal deficiencies" including the failure to notify Brady of potential penalties, Berman wrote in his opinion, noting that an arbitrator's factual findings are generally not open to judicial challenge.

    "The court finds that Brady had no notice that he could receive a four-game suspension for general awareness of ball deflation by others or participation in any scheme to deflate footballs," Berman wrote.

    Not over yet

    Berman said Goodell went too far in affirming punishment of the Super Bowl winning quarterback. Brady has insisted he played no role in a conspiracy to deflate footballs below the allowable limit at last season's AFC championship game.

    The suspension was "premised upon several significant legal deficiencies" including the failure to notify Brady of potential penalties, Berman wrote in his opinion, noting that an arbitrator's factual findings are generally not open to judicial challenge.

    The ruling is unlikely to be the last word on the matter, which has dominated sports radio, made national headlines and inspired nicknames like "Deflategate" and "Ballghazi".

    Brady had appealed the original verdict but Goodell had upheld the suspension.

    "I am very disappointed by the NFL's decision to uphold the 4 game suspension against me," Brady had written in his 507-word Facebook post.

    "I did nothing wrong, and no one in the Patriots organization did either.

    "Despite submitting to hours of testimony over the past 6 months, it is disappointing that the Commissioner upheld my suspension based upon a standard that it was 'probable' that I was 'generally aware' of misconduct."

    The NFL can appeal Berman's decision, a process that will take months to resolve.

    Neither the NFL nor the players union immediately commented on the decision.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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