Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL will appeal judge Richard Berman's decision to nullify New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's four-game suspension for his role in the Deflategate scandal.
Brady can play during the NFL's appeal.
Goodell issued the following statement on Thursday:
“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 purse 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.“
You can read the full court decision here.
The NFLPA also released a statement after the ruling, saying in part that the “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.”
Brady was suspended four games after an NFL-contracted report by attorney Ted Wells asserted “it is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules” and Brady was “generally aware” of the alleged scheme to deflate footballs used in the AFC championship game. Brady has denied wrongdoing.
The NFL also punished the Patriots franchise by imposing a $1 million fine and the loss of a 2016 first-round pick and 2017 fourth-round pick. Patriots owner Robert Kraft decided not to fight the sanctions.
The Patriots open the season next Thursday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.