The New England Patriots were dealt a big blow on Monday when the U.S. Court of Appeals reinstated the four game suspension of quarterback Tom Brady that was handed down by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last year for his role in the Deflategate scandal. With Brady scheduled to miss the first four games of the upcoming season, New England’s online betting odds are sure to be affected.
Last September, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman overturned the four-game suspension handed out by Goodell, allowing him to play all 16 games. Berman’s decision was overturned by a 2-1 vote and Brady will now be forced to serve the suspension this season.
In their 33 page decision, the judges said that they felt the commissioner exercised his discretion under the collective bargaining agreement, and that his ruling did not violate the CBA or deprive Brady of any fairness.
The court also made it clear that the decision was more about upholding the CBA and ensuring Roger Goodell did not overstep his boundaries as the NFL commissioner. The judges also noted that their role in this case was not to determine if Brady had anything to do with balls being deflated or whether the suspension was too harsh or too lenient.
During the Super Bowl, the commissioner stressed the importance of the appeal. According to Goodell, the issue wasn’t about Tom Brady, it was about the rights that the team owners and players negotiated in their CBA.
While the ruling is a disappointing one for Brady, who has maintained his innocence during the scandal, he still has one more legal option to take. Brady can ask for a stay on the decision, which would allow him to play while the case goes through the legal system again. However, it is unclear if he intends to seek a stay or if he will accept the court’s decision and sit out the first four games of the season.
At this point, it might be better if he accepts the decision and puts the whole incident behind him or he will have to deal with a lot of distractions caused by the case during the season.
During an appearance on the NFL Network, Gabe Feldman, Tulane Sports Law Program’s director, said it is more likely than not that Brady will miss the first four games of the season. Feldman added that Brady’s first step would likely be to ask for a stay, but he first has to ask for an en banc appeal to the second circuit courts, and those appeals are rarely granted.
Financially, Brady’s suspension won’t have as big an impact on his wallet like it would have last season if he sat out the first four games of the year. This is because he had his contract restructured last season after signing a two year extension.
The contract extension Tom Brady signed reduced his 2016 base salary from $9 million to $1 million. While it might seem like a significant pay cut, the new deal netted him $40 million in new money.
The Patriots will open the season on the road against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday Night Football, then play their next three games at home against the Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans, and the Buffalo Bills. Even without Brady in the lineup, they will be favored to win three of the four games.