Tom Brady and the New England Patriots may be undefeated on the field this season, but the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell still loom as opponents in the courtroom thanks to the league's decision to appeal the Deflategate ruling.
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NFL Begins Deflategate Appeal
Monday, Oct. 26
U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman eliminated Brady's four-game suspension in early September and criticized Goodell for levying "his own brand of industrial justice," per ESPN.com.
On Monday, attorney Daniel Wallach confirmed the NFL filed its opening brief in its appeal of that ruling.
Sports Illustrated legal analyst Michael McCann added that the brief was 59 pages and it stated Berman "vastly exceeded" his authority and "significant evidence linked [Brady] to the deflation scheme," which allegedly occurred before the Patriots' AFC Championship Game win over the Indianapolis Colts.
Wallach summarized the NFL's position: "In short, the commissioner acted well within the bounds of discretion expressly granted by the CBA, while the district court vastly exceeded the narrow bounds of judicial review allowed under the LMRA and decades of precedent."
Per Wallach, the NFL focused on the collective bargaining agreement with the Players Association in its appeal and stressed that it gave Goodell "authority to impose discipline for conduct detrimental to the integrity of the game."
Wallach pointed out another side of the NFL's argument:
The NFL also noted, per Wallach: "Stripped of its celebrity, this case involves a straightforward exercise of authority expressly granted under the CBA."
Michele Steele of ESPN, via attorney Dan Werly, highlighted the NFL's reference to a level playing field in its appeal:
McCann provided his take on the crux of the issue:
As the Deflategate controversy continues to make headlines, the Patriots have started the season 6-0 and look poised to challenge for their second straight Super Bowl title and fifth championship since 2001.
The appeal is just the latest distraction Brady and his teammates will have to face as they try to maintain their perfect start to the season.