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Judge Richard Berman has overturned Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for “Deflategate,” according to the AP.
Berman made the decision after Brady and the NFL met several times and were unable to come to a settlement.
Of course this doesn’t mean that Deflategate is over.
It has been widely reported that whichever side lost would then file an appeal, setting up court hearings for several more months.
Right now, though, it seems we’ll see Brady in Week 1.
There was feeling around the NFL world that Berman would rule in Brady’s favor after the NFL got crushed during a hearing earlier in August.
One of the strongest arguments in Brady’s favor was the lack of a “smoking gun.”
Though the NFL’s investigation found Brady was “generally aware” of the plan to deflate the footballs, it seemed Berman questioned the leap from “generally aware” to a four-game suspension.
Additionally, Berman didn’t agree with Roger Goodell’s comparison of Brady being generally aware of ball deflation to a player being generally aware of steroid use.
In Berman’s 40-page decision, he specifically mentions questioning the comparison:
The Court finds that no player alleged or found to have had a general awareness of the inappropriate ball deflation activities of others or who allegedly schemed with others to let air out of footballs in a championship game and also had not cooperated in an ensuing investigation, reasonably could be on notice that their discipline would (or should) be the same as applied to a player who violated the NFL Policy on Anabolic Steroids and Related Substances.
Further, Berman’s decision calls out the NFL’s insistence that Brady’s refusal to cooperate hurt his case.
Brady’s defense reportedly said that, in the history of the NFL, players have never been penalized so harshly for not cooperating.
It is the ‘law of the shop’ to provide professional football players with (advance) notice of prohibited conduct and of potential discipline … Because there was no notice of a four-game suspension in the circumstances presented here, Commissioner Goodell may be said to have ‘dispense[d] his own brand of industrial justice.”
Here is the excerpt from Berman’s ruling, which officially overturns the suspension:
— Stephen Brown (@PPVSRB) September 3, 2015
The Patriots open the season on Thursday, September 10, against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Brady will be on the field.