Tom Brady beats NFL in Deflategate court case. Judge nullifies league’s 4-game suspension.
NEW YORK — A federal judge erased New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady‘s four-game suspension Thursday for a Deflategate controversy that the NFL claimed threatened football’s integrity.
U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell went too far in affirming punishment of the Super Bowl-winning quarterback, criticizing him for dispensing “his own brand of industrial justice.” 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 judge said that Brady had no notice he could receive a four-game suspension for general awareness of ball deflation by others or participation in any scheme to deflate footballs and for not cooperating with an investigation.
“Brady also had no notice that his discipline would be the equivalent of the discipline imposed upon a player who used performance enhancing drugs,” Berman said.
Brady also was denied equal access to investigative files, including witness interview notes, and didn’t have a chance to examine one of two lead investigators, the judge said.
The written decision frees Brady to play in the Sept. 10 season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. In Las Vegas, the Patriots moved from 3-point favorites to 6.5-point favorites in that Week 1 game, and the over/under total grew from 48.5 points to 51 at William Hill’s Nevada sportsbook.