PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — It’s been six months since allegations against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots first came to light, but “deflategate” is far from over.
As soon as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced his decision to uphold Brady’s four-game suspension, the league filed a case in federal court, asking the court to confirm the decision.
The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) has also asked for the judge to vacate the suspension, or at least put it on hold until the case can be heard.
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“If the case stays in New York, which is where the NFL filed, the next procedural question will be whether or not Brady’s team is able to get an injunction against the suspension, which involves two very high hurdles for him to clear,” said Eyewitness News legal analyst and former U.S. Attorney Robert Corrente. “He’d have to show that he’s probably going to succeed on the merits of the case, and he’d also have to show if he doesn’t get the injunction he would somehow be irreparably harmed.”
The union’s lawsuit argues that the NFL broke at least four procedural rules when it suspended Brady for his alleged role in a scheme to under-inflate footballs in the AFC Championship against the Indianapolis Colts.
If granted the injunction, Brady would be allowed to play while the case works its way through the court system, but Corrente said it could potentially hurt the team in the long run.
“The risk for Brady is if the case then goes forward and he loses on the merits, he could end up having to serve the four-game suspension in the middle of the season or late in the season, which would arguably be worse than the first four games,” he said.
Corrente said he’d be surprised if the case is played out anywhere other than New York, since the court where a case is filed first usually keeps the case.
“I think the NFL was also deathly afraid of being caught up in Minnesota because there’s a judge out there named Judge David Doty who has been the trial judge on a whole host of NFL cases, and almost invariably rules against the league, as he did recently in the Adrian Peterson case,” said Corrente.
A lot of the talk recently has been about Brady’s cell phone, which Goodell implied he destroyed to get rid of evidence. The reigning Super Bowl MVP says he simply got rid of it because it broke.
Corrente says he was not under any legal obligation to turn it over.
“There’s no provision in the collective bargaining agreement for that, so it’s hard for them to say he violated any kind of order,” Corrente explained. “Even though it might not be critically important in the court – in the court of public opinion, the timing of it doesn’t look good for Mr. Brady.”
Corrente said we could know more about a possible injunction against the suspension within the next couple of weeks.