Reuters

(Reuters)

NFL's Brady to Appeal 'Deflategate' Ruling

Sports Reuters

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will appeal the federal court ruling reinstating his four-game suspension for "Deflategate" to the entire U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Brady's lawyer told ABC News on Monday.

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"The facts here are so drastic, and so apparent, that the court should rehear it," Brady's attorney, former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson, told ABC News in an interview.

Brady, 38, was suspended in May 2015, four months after the National Football League (NFL) found under inflated footballs were used in the Patriots' 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts in January 2015's AFC championship game.

The victory propelled the Patriots to the Super Bowl where they beat the defending champion Seattle Seahawks, giving Brady his fourth championship title.

The NFL suspended Brady, twice the league's most valuable player, after a lawyer hired by the league to investigate the incident said the quarterback was "generally aware" that two Patriots employees had conspired to deflate the balls, which could make them easier to grip.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld the suspension in July, prompting the legal challenge on Brady's behalf. The quarterback has denied knowing about any plan to deflate footballs.

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In a split 2-1 decision last month, a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York reversed a ruling that overturned the decision to penalize Brady.

Olson said Brady would seek an "en banc" review in which the court's entire roster of 13 active judges would rehear the case and render a decision.

The 2nd Circuit is known among federal appellate courts for rarely granting such requests. It has held only one en banc hearing in the last three years.

If the court denies the motion, the next step for Brady and the NFL players union would be to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

After Goodell upheld the suspension in July, the players union filed a lawsuit claiming the collective bargaining agreement did not permit such a harsh penalty based on the evidence at hand.

U.S. District Judge Richard Berman in New York overturned Goodell's decision in September, ensuring Brady could play the entire 2015 regular season. The judge found Brady did not have the required notice that he could face a long suspension for his alleged conduct.

But the 2nd Circuit majority ruled the labor deal between the league and the union gave Goodell "especially broad" authority in disciplinary matters.

 

(Additional reporting by Joseph Ax; Writing by Daniel Wallis in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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