In the year 2184, when Tom Brady’s head is thawed from cryostasis to testify against Robo-Goodell in Moon Court, your descendants may wonder how the longest-running legal battle in the history of sports ever got started. (Their neural visit to the electro-sapio-repository will tell them it was about balls and text messages or something, with a cryptic reference to something called a “Dorito Dink.”) What I’m saying is, we’re living through exciting times here.
Last month a three-judge panel from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court’s ruling and reinstated Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for his role in the Patriots deflating footballs before the 2015 AFC Championship. The ruling did not concern the actual deflation, or weigh in on the quality the NFL’s investigation—it upheld Roger Goodell’s right to impose the punishment based on the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
This morning the NFLPA’s attorney announced they would file an appeal later today, a so-called appeal en banc, which would ask that the entire roster of judges on the court participate in a hearing, rather than the three judges who heard the last round.
“The facts here are so drastic and so apparent that the court should rehear it,” lawyer Ted Olson said.
That is, maybe, not exactly a point of law.
There are 13 active judges on the Second Circuit, and a majority would have to agree for the court to hear the appeal. It’s something of a long shot, and a decision would typically be expected in four-to-six weeks. If they decline to hear the appeal, Brady’s legal team has one shot left: an appeal to the Supreme Court.
I can’t even remember a time before Ballghazi.