Tom Brady’s Deflategate nightmare is over, according to U.S. District Judge Richard Berman. He issued his ruling in a 40 page document on Thursday morning.
The document said, “he found several significant legal deficiencies in how NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell investigated accusations the Patriots used footballs inflated below league-mandated levels.”
Berman had several major reasons for nullifying Brady’s suspension. He said the NFL denied Brady access to the investigative files that they had, they would not allow him to ask one of the investigator’s any questions and they didn’t tell him that he could possibly be suspended.
Tom Brady will now be allowed to play in the Patriot’s season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
This whole nightmare began when the Patriots were accused of deflating their footballs to help them win the AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts on January 18. After one of the Colt’s players intercepted a pass, he felt the ball and handed it to one of his teams equipment staff guys to check the air in it. The balls (all 11 of them) were found to have 11 pounds of air in them and the regulations call for 12.5 to 13.5 pounds. The referees inflated the footballs to regulation for the second half of the game.
The Patriots went on to win that game by a 45-7 spanking over the Colts and stats tell us that Brady passed better in the second half than he did when the balls were inflated.
After the news of the balls got out, Ted Wells, a high-profile attorney was hired by the NFL to investigate.
His report said, “it is more probable than not” that John Jastremski, the Patriots’ attendant for the game officials’ locker room, and equipment assistant Jim McNally deliberately deflated the balls after referees had inspected them. “It also is our view that it is more probable than not that Tom Brady (the quarterback for the Patriots) was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of McNally and Jastremski involving the release of air from Patriots game balls.”
Tom Brady was not only punished, but the Patriots were too. They will lose their first-round pick in the 1016 NFL draft and their fourth round pick in the 2017 draft. The Patriots didn’t fight the penalties they received, but Brady did.
CNN sports reporter commented that Berman’s decision did not come from whether or not Brady was involved in deflating the balls; his decision was mostly based on the process that the NFL used to investigate the situation.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft thanked the judge after the proceedings and said this about his quarterback:
“Tom Brady is a classy person of the highest integrity. He represents everything that is great about this game and this league,” Kraft said. “Yet, with absolutely no evidence of any actions of wrongdoing by Tom in the Wells report, the lawyers at the league still insisted on imposing and defending unwarranted and unprecedented discipline.”
New England fans are thrilled and pumped for Thursday nights game, knowing their starting quarterback is back at the helm.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, however, is not happy with Judge Berman’s decision. He responded to the decision with this statement:
“We are grateful to Judge Berman for hearing this matter, but respectfully disagree with today’s decision,” Goodell said in a statement. “… 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.”
What do you think? Do you think Tom Brady is innocent or guilty?
(image: via Newsweek website)