Patriots owner Bob Kraft has released a statement following today’s ruling:
“As I have said during this process and throughout his Patriots career, Tom Brady is a classy person of the highest integrity. He represents everything that is great about this game and this league. Yet, with absolutely no evidence of any actions of wrongdoing by Tom in the Wells report, the lawyers at the league still insisted on imposing and defending unwarranted and unprecedented discipline. Judge Richard Berman understood this and we are greatly appreciative of his thoughtful decision that was delivered today. Now, we can return our focus to the game on the field.”
Here’s a statement from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell confirming that they will appeal Judge Berman’s ruling:
“We are grateful to Judge Berman for hearing this matter, but respectfully disagree with today’s decision. We will appeal today’s ruling in order to uphold the collectively bargained responsibility to protect the integrity of the game. The commissioner’s responsibility to secure the competitive fairness of our game is a paramount principle, and the league and our 32 clubs will continue to pursue a path to that end. While the legal phase of this process continues, we look forward to focusing on football and the opening of the regular season.”
Here’s the statement from the NFLPA regarding Tom Brady’s suspension being overturned:
The rights of Tom Brady and of all NFL players under the collective bargaining agreement were affirmed today by a Federal Judge in a court of the NFL’s choosing. We thank Judge Berman for his time, careful consideration of the issue and fair and just result.
This decision should prove, once and for all, that our Collective Bargaining Agreement does not grant this Commissioner the authority to be unfair, arbitrary and misleading. While the CBA grants the person who occupies the position of Commissioner the ability to judiciously and fairly exercise the designated power of that position, the union did not agree to attempts to unfairly, illegally exercise that power, contrary to what the NFL has repeatedly and wrongfully claimed.
We are happy for the victory of the rule of law for our players and our fans. This court’s decision to overturn the NFL Commissioner again should signal to every NFL owner that collective bargaining is better than legal losses. Collective bargaining is a much better process that will lead to far better results.
Berman’s decided to vacate Brady’s suspension on three grounds:
- The NFL didn’t properly inform Brady of the punishment he faced, or even what he was accused of.
- The NFL didn’t let Brady’s camp question NFL executive and counsel Jeff Pash at his appeal.
- The NFL didn’t give Brady’s side the opportunity to examine the evidence against him.
- According to Albert Breer, the NFL is likely to appeal Berman’s decision to the second circuit at some point in the near future.
- However, Ian Rapoport reports that the NFL is not expected to seek an injunction that would keep Brady from playing in week one.
- Here’s the link to Berman’s 40-page ruling.
It will be interesting to see if the Patriots and owner Robert Kraft will try to get their penalties removed, which included a fine of $1 million and the loss of draft picks.
The two sides had at least attempted to discuss a settlement in recent weeks, but the two sides were reportedly nowhere near reaching an agreement.
The NFL wanted Brady to accept the finding of the Ted Wells’ report, and even though Brady was reportedly willing to accept a one-game suspension for not fully cooperating in the matter, he had no intention of admitting guilt in DeflateGate.
It’s worth noting that the NFL handpicked this court to hear Brady’s case, so this is just the NFL’s latest defeat in court.
This, of course, means that Brady will be ready to open the regular season next week as the Patriots’ starting quarterback.