Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Judge Nullifies Tom Brady's Four-Game Suspension; NFL to Appeal Patriots Quarterback Could Open Season against Steelers

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Judge Nullifies Tom Brady's Four-Game Suspension; NFL to Appeal Patriots Quarterback Could Open Season against Steelers

Article excerpt

Four-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady appears set to play against the Steelers after all in next week's season opener at Gillette Stadium after a federal judge today threw out his four- game suspension, although the NFL said this afternoon it will appeal.

In tossing the suspension for the New England Patriots' quarterback's alleged role in deflating footballs from the AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts, U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman criticized NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for dispensing "his own brand of industrial justice."

Judge Berman said Mr. Goodell went too far in affirming punishment of Mr. Brady, who has insisted he played no role in a conspiracy to deflate footballs below the allowable limit at last season's game.

The judge said the NFL failed to adequately notify Mr. Brady of both his potential discipline (a four-game suspension) and his alleged misconduct; denied the opportunity for Mr. Brady to examine one of the two lead investigators; and denied him equal access to its investigative files, including witness interview notes.

"Because there was no notice of a four-game suspension in the circumstances presented here, Commissioner Goodell may be said to have 'dispensed his own brand of industrial justice,'" Judge Berman wrote, partially citing wording from a previous case.

Mr. Goodell said the league will appeal:

"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."

For now, Mr. …

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