Patriots Fans Lawsuit over Lost Draft Pick in Deflategate Punishment Dismissed

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist

New England Patriots fans hold a picture and sign referring to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Monday, Nov. 23, 2015, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Members of the New England Patriots fanbase sued the NFL in an effort to regain the team's first-round pick in the upcoming 2016 NFL draft, which was taken away as a result of Deflategate.

However, the court denied the motion, saying it was "not [a] prudent use of resources to permit this to progress," per Andrew Brandt of ESPN.

The lawsuit claimed the league handed down the punishment despite having no evidence the Patriots deliberately deflated footballs in the AFC Championship Game two seasons ago, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). The complaint also stated the pick was taken away based on "false premises and biased 'investigations.'"

The AP report noted the suit is signed by seven fans on the basis of "common law fraud, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and racketeering." Maine-based attorney Seth Carey signed the complaint, according to Bob McGovern of the Boston Herald, which reads in part:

This case is brought by New England Patriots fans on behalf of all Patriots fans who believe the New England Patriots professional football team were harmed by the Defendants' arbitrary and capricious decision to revoke the Patriots first round draft choice in the April 28, 2016 NFL Draft.

Along with the first-round pick, the Patriots were also docked a fourth-round selection in 2017 and fined $1 million as a result of the Deflategate scandal.

Last month, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he wrote a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in an effort to get the penalties overturned, as relayed by Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com.

"I personally wrote a letter to the commissioner responding to his comment that if any new facts came up he would take them into consideration," Kraft said. "I personally believe that when the league made their decision they did not factor in the ideal gas law. They admitted that publicly last year."

Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald noted Goodell confirmed he received the message but had no plans to change the punishment.

"I did receive the letter from Robert a few weeks back," Goodell said. "I also responded to him two weeks ago and told him that I did consider his views. I didn't think there was any new information in there that would cause us to alter the discipline, and so there will be no changes to the discipline."

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady also received a four-game suspension as part of the league's response to Deflategate. U.S. District Court Judge Richard M. Berman later vacated that ruling, which allowed Brady to play last season, but the issue remains in appeal.

All told, it's been nearly 15 months since the AFC title game when talk of deflated footballs became national news, and there's still no resolution. The NFL has shown no signs of budging in any regard to the punishment, with Goodell saying he's "not aware" of any potential Brady settlement, per Will Brinson of CBS Sports.

And with the 2016 NFL draft approaching, Patriots fans tried to take the issue involving the first-round pick into their own hands.


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