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Tom Brady's Latest 'Deflategate' Appeal Rejected By Federal Court

Brady's slated to serve his original four-game suspension.

Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for his role in Deflategate was upheld by a federal appeals court on Wednesday morning, The Associated Press first reported. 

The New England Patriots quarterback had asked the full 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York to hear his case. Previously, a three-judge panel from the same court restored Brady’s suspension in April upon appeal by the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell, who imposed and later upheld Brady’s suspension in July 2015.

The three-judge panel had ruled that Goodell operated within the scope of his powers, which are determined by the league’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the NFL Players’ Association, when he levied Brady’s punishment In May 2015. 

In September 2015, however, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman nullified the NFL’s four-game suspension following arbitration hearings and settlement talks between the NFL and Brady over his suspension. Judge Berman found no legal basis for Goodell’s suspension, which was for his “general awareness” — something Brady wasn’t aware he could be suspended over — of an alleged scheme to deflate footballs in a January 2015 playoff game in order to gain a competitive advantage. Many scientists have argued that physics, not a “deflator,” caused the footballs in question to naturally deflate. 

While today’s ruling is an affirmation of the legally binding powers given to Goodell in the CBA, Berman’s September decision had been a victory for labor advocates seeking due process for Brady.

Brady’s final option to rid himself of the suspension would be to appeal his case to the Supreme Court. He has 90 days to file an appeal, but it likely won’t be heard until 2017. It’s Brady’s only remaining legal outlet, and it’s one that his camp and the NFLPA are reportedly intent on seeing out, despite accruing more than $25 million in legal fees thus far.

In a statement, the NFLPA said, "We are disappointed with the decision denying a rehearing, as there were clear violations of our collective bargaining agreement by the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell," also mentioning that "we have a broken system that must be fixed."

If Brady remains suspended, backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will start for the Patriots in their 2016 regular season opener against the Arizona Cardinals in September.  

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