A judge nullified the NFL's four-game suspension issued to Brady earlier this year
A judge has overturned Tom Brady’s four-game suspension after ruling today that the National Football League’s discipline of the the New England Patriots quarterback was “premised upon several significant legal deficiencies.”
U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman blasted NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who personally heard Brady’s appeal of the suspension, for applying “his own brand of industrial justice,” according to the Associated Press.
The ruling did not even attempt to answer whether Brady was involved in tampering with game balls – specifically during last season’s AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts. Berman focused solely on the NFL’s judicial process and whether Brady’s punishment was lawful.
While this is a clear victory for Brady, the NFL can file an appeal. It is unclear whether the league will do so.
The judge faulted the NFL for several parts of the disciplinary process: Brady was never informed of the punishment he faced, his legal team was not given equal access to the evidence in the case and Brady was never allowed to question one of the two lead investigators in the case.
“Because there was no notice of a four-game suspension in the circumstances presented here, Commissioner Goodell may be said to have ‘dispensed his own brand of industrial justice,” Berman wrote, according to the AP.
Brady, a four-time Super Bowl champion, filed a lawsuit against the league last month contesting the suspension.
He is now free to take the field on Sept. 10 when the Patriots face the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In July, Goodell said that evidence about Brady’s destroyed cell phone (Brady allegedly told his assistant to destroy the device) indicated that he “sought to hide evidence of his own participation in the underlying scheme to alter the footballs.”
Brady has long held that he played no role in an alleged conspiracy to deflate footballs.