Courts Deflate Brady Suspension

On Sept. 3, 2015, the Federal District Court in Manhattan, New York, overturned the suspension of New England Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, of the National Football League (NFL). The ruling leaves fans of the NFL to wonder what will become of the Patriots’ season.

Jake Matise, Sports Editor

Ah, yes. Deflategate. Things just keep getting more interesting, don’t they? In a sudden and significant turn of events, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for his role in deflating footballs during a playoff game last season was overturned. The Patriots have won both of their games so far this season, and most of that can be attributed to Brady being back under center. The season has already been impacted greatly by this ruling, but was it the right call?

The Federal District Court in Manhattan certainly thinks so. According to the statement provided by Judge Richard M. Berman in a 40-page decision, the court found “significant legal deficiencies” in the National Football League’s (NFL) case. The judge agreed with the Patriots and stated that Brady was not responsible for the deflated footballs, and that no suspension could  be given for “general awareness” of wrongdoing, according to the New York Times.

Now here’s the part that bothers me about the ruling. It is well-known that Brady destroyed his cell phone intentionally before it could be examined by NFL officials. This is a pretty obvious case of obstructing an investigation, right? Wrong, I guess. You see, there’s a bit of a loophole that Brady’s lawyers found that states that no NFL policy exists that notifies players that they can be disciplined for general awareness of wrongdoing. Come on, NFL. If you had this loophole closed before launching an investigation like this, I’m pretty sure this would have been an open-and-shut case in your favor.

To make matters worse for the NFL, the Brady investigation has turned into an embarrassment.  Since the player won the case, people are angry with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for supposedly abusing his power and targeting Brady for a suspension. It’s not as bad as it sounds, though. He did fine the Patriots a hefty sum of money and took away some future NFL Draft picks as well. This I agree with, and no one is really complaining about this move. After all, the team is ultimately to blame for deflating the footballs and should take responsibility for cheating, but so should Brady. He’s the quarterback. He threw deflated footballs the entire game and didn’t say anything. I still think Brady should have faced some repercussions, but the NFL is at fault for that one.

It will be interesting to see how the Patriots season plays out with their star player and team leader back. Honestly, I thought the Patriots would be able to win without Brady as they have numerous key players on both offense and defense, but they won’t have to due to the court’s decision. I think the games would be closer, definitely, but the Patriots are a solid team. They did win the Super Bowl last year without the aid of deflated footballs, too, so let’s keep that in mind. Ultimately, if the NFL targets a star player and likely future Hall of Famer for disciplinary action, they need to have built up enough evidence and made sure there are no loopholes in their policy. Otherwise, you get a media nightmare like this. So in the future, NFL, try to win your court cases. It makes you look bad when you don’t.