Tom Brady Deflategate Suspension: Latest Buzz on Patriots QB's Potential Appeal

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) passes against the Kansas City Chiefs in the first half of an NFL divisional playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Charles Krupa/Associated Press

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's status for the start of the 2016 NFL season is still up in the air.

On April 25, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit determined he will have to serve the four-game suspension the league issued to him following Deflategate, according to the Associated Press. Brady's request for a rehearing was denied, leaving the quarterback with only one other option, which is to pursue a hearing in front of the Supreme Court, according to Michael McCann of Sports Illustrated.

Continue for updates.

Brady Reportedly Targeting Supreme Court Hearing

Wednesday, July 13

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported on Wednesday that while Brady has yet to make a "firm decision," the quarterback is expected to attempt to be heard by the Supreme Court. Albert Breer of NFL.com noted that Brady has 90 days to file his appeal, adding that "if he waits, good chance SCOTUS [doesn't] decide whether to hear it [until 2017]."

Lester Munson of ESPN, via ABC News, reported on June 14 that Brady's lawyer, Ted Olson, was hired not for the quarterback's en banc petition but rather for a petition to the Supreme Court.

Munson noted that Olson has "argued 62 cases in the high court, prevailing in 75 percent of them. Olson is to the legal profession what Brady is to pro footballone of the all-time greats."

Brady Appeal for Rehearing Denied

Wednesday, July 13

Darren Heitner of Forbes shared an image of the announcement denying Brady's appeal:

Darren Heitner @DarrenHeitner

Tom Brady's request for rehearing has been DENIED https://t.co/ZIdhCuwFo0

Goodell Comments on Brady's Appeal

Monday, June 6

"I don't think it's an issue of length. ... It's been litigated," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday in reference to the appeal process, per ESPN.com's Mike Rodak"'We're not going to hand the integrity of the game off' to somebody else," Goodell stated as he "(reiterated) his role as commissioner," per Rodak.

Goodell also said the league is not engaged in settlement talks with Brady and that the courts will make their decision, according to Rodak.

AFL-CIO Join Brady's Side

Tuesday, May 31

The AFL-CIO said Goodell "acted arbitrarily as an employer seeking to justify his own disciplinary decision rather than as a neutral arbitrator considering an appeal," according to the Associated Press (via ESPN.com).

NFLPA Petitions for Rehearing

Monday, May 23

Brady and his legal team officially filed the appeal Monday, via NFL.com, with Tom Pelissero of USA Today sharing the conclusion of its argument:

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

Tom Brady's petition has officially been filed to the Second Circuit. Spoiler alert: here's the conclusion. https://t.co/PARozA0jUh

Earlier in the day, ABC News' Brian McBride and Katie Conway wrote on Brady's request: 

Brady will appeal the federal court ruling reinstating his four-game suspension for "Deflategate," requesting that the entire U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals rehear his case in what's known as an en banc hearing, Brady's lawyer, former Solicitor General Ted Olson, said in an exclusive interview with ABC News.

ABC News provided a statement from Olson:

"The facts here are so drastic, and so apparent, that the court should rehear it."

Olson said [Goodell] fumbled the case, adding that he "completely ignored the schedule of penalties for equipment-related violations," which could have resulted in nothing more than a fine.

Rapoport added, "If the Second Circuit grants [Brady] the en banc appeal he's requesting, he's essentially guaranteed to play the 2016 season based on timing."

However, Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post noted, "The Second Circuit almost never grants en banc appeals. All this stall tactic will end up being is a nice payday for Brady's NFLPA lawyers."

Smith Comments on Decision to Appeal Ban

Monday, May 23

"It borders on intellectual hypocrisy," NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said regarding the NFL's decision to discipline Brady on a claim of "general awareness" during an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, via Andrew Perloff.

"When he chose to cloak himself in neutrality [as arbitrator], that also means he can’t choose to be unfair," Smith added, via Perloff.

Smith also said that the NFLPA is fighting Brady's ban so vigorously because the NFL are "bullies" in most cases.

Brady Adds High-Profile Attorneys to Defense Team

Friday, May 20

Michael Hurley of CBS Boston Sports reported Brady has added Thomas Dupree Jr. to his defense team.

Dupree is known for being George W. Bush's attorney in Bush v. Gore during the 2000 presidential election.

CSNNE.com reported on April 29 Brady would add Olson, who has argued over 60 cases in the Supreme Court, to his team.

Brady Given Extension to File Appeal 

Tuesday, May 3 

Dan Graziano of ESPN reported the NFLPA's extension request for Brady's appeal deadline was granted, and the Patriots quarterback now has until May 23 to file the appeal.

Michele Steele of ESPN said the "[second] circuit defies [the NFL's] warning and gives Brady's legal team more time to prepare and consider requesting a rehearing."

NFL Reportedly Won't Reopen Settlement Talks

Wednesday, April 27

Schefter provided details on the NFL's stance on settling with Brady:

Owners Prefer NFL Reach Settlement Quickly

Tuesday, April 26

Bleacher Report's Jason Cole reported that two NFL owners would prefer Brady and the NFL to reach a settlement as soon as possible and erase the Deflategate issue from the public eye:

NFLPA Rep Comments on Potential Settlement

Tuesday, April 26

"I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it doesn't seem like it's going to end anytime soon," the NFLPA's George Atallah stated about the ruling during an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show, per Perloff.

"We would need a level-headed and influential team owner to broker that deal," Atallah added about the possibility of a settlement. "I'm not sure [the NFLPA] would have done anything differently."

Brady Weighing Appeal on Circuit Court Decision

Monday, April 25

Sources told Schefter Brady is "not ready to accept court ruling today—far from it." ESPN's Andrew Brandt provided the quarterback's legal avenues to make an appeal:

Andrew Brandt @AndrewBrandt

Brady/NFLPA can appeal to full Second Circuit (en banc) and then to the U.S. Supreme Court, but would think their chances are not promising.

The NFL Players Association announced it will also evaluate its next step on Brady's behalf: "Our union will carefully review the decision, consider all of our options and continue to fight for players' rights and for the integrity of the game."

According to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, Brady and his legal team have two weeks to make a decision, and should they appeal to the Second Circuit, he'd be available to play until the court makes a judgment. The possibility exists that Brady could continue playing through the entire 2016 season before the case is over.

Pro Football Talk also made the case for why further legal action makes the most sense:

ProFootballTalk @ProFootballTalk

Big picture: Two federal judges have sided with Brady/NFLPA, two federal judges have sided with NFL. It makes sense to break the tie.

However, Raffi Melkonian of the Houston law firm Wright & Close believes Brady has a very small chance of winning, per Lindsay H. Jones of USA Today.

"He would need to get a majority of those judges to agree they want to hear this case," Melkonian said. "That is incredibly rare in every circuit, especially in the 2nd circuit, which is notorious for not taking cases en banc. That, I would say, has a less than 1 percent chance of it happening."

The 2nd Circuit determined that Goodell didn't act outside his authority when he handed Brady a four-game ban to start the 2015 season. Judge Richard Berman had previously wiped out the punishment last September.

CBSSports.com's Will Brinson shared a summary of the court's argument:

Will Brinson @WillBrinson

Here’s the language from the ruling reinstating the Tom Brady suspension: https://t.co/R4F27Flv5K

Brady could potentially be absent when the Patriots take on the Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans and Buffalo Bills in the first four weeks of the regular season.

However, the saga may drag out for months.


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