NEW YORK — The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has denied an appeal by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to rehear his four-game suspension case over Deflategate.
Brady and the NFL Players Association were asking for the full appeals court panel of judges to hear the case but it was rejected in a decision announced Wednesday.
Brady is increasingly likely to miss the first four games of the 2016 season.
The NFLPA released a statement after the decision was announced:
“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. Despite today’s result, the track record of this League office when it comes to matters of player discipline is bad for our business and bad for our game. We have a broken system that must be fixed. We will review all of our options carefully on behalf of Tom Brady and all NFL players.”
On April 25, the three-judge appeals court panel ruled 2-1 that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was within his powers when he suspended Brady for his alleged role to deflate the footballs used in the 2015 AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts on Jan. 18, 2015.
Brady’s remaining hope is to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. If Brady petitions the highest court, his legal team could first ask the 2nd Circuit court for a stay of its decision. If the 2nd Circuit doesn’t grant a stay, Brady’s lawyers could then request for a stay from the Supreme Court, which would be decided by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
Brady has 90 days to file a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his appeal, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.
Sources close to Brady’s legal team told ESPN’s Mike Reiss on Wednesday that the denied appeal was the expected result and that no final decision has been made concerning the next step.
“We wish the result were otherwise, but respect and understand the decision and know that it is extremely rare for the Second Circuit to grant en banc review,” Anthony Barkow, a lawyer who submitted an amicus brief on behalf of longtime arbitrator Kenneth R. Feinberg, told the Associated Press.
Brady was originally suspended by Goodell on May 11, 2015, for his involvement in the Patriots’ alleged deflation of footballs during the 2015 AFC Championship Game, which New England won 45-7.
The NFL-commissioned investigation was conducted by attorney Ted Wells, who concluded it was “more probable than not” that Brady was “generally aware” of Patriots attendants deflating footballs prior to the AFC Championship Game.
The Patriots were docked $1 million and two draft picks for the scandal that has come to be known as Deflategate.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft did not appeal the $1 million fine and the loss of a first-round pick in the 2016 draft and a fourth-rounder in 2017 as part of the penalties.
With the suspension, Brady would miss New England’s first four games in 2016, starting with the season opener on the road against the Arizona Cardinals on “Sunday Night Football” on Sept. 11. He also would miss games against the Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans and Buffalo Bills. Backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo would take over in those games.
Brady would be eligible to return in Week 5 on Oct. 9 against the Cleveland Browns. The four-time Super Bowl winner signed a two-year contract extension during the offseason that dropped his 2016 salary from $9 million to $1 million to save himself almost $2 million in lost salary during the suspension. His renegotiated deal deferred $8 million of his 2016 salary.