After seven months of what felt like the biggest witch-hunt in NFL history, a resolution was finally reached in the now infamous “Deflate-gate” case.
Earlier this morning, U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman said that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell crossed the line when he put forth the four-game suspension on Tom Brady, for his pertained role in the “Deflate-gate” scandal.
Berman not only claimed that the punishment was unjust, but that Goodell had failed to let Brady know that such a punishment was ever on the table. He said suspension was “premised upon several significant legal deficiencies,” hinting at Goodell’s power as the judge, jury and executioner in all disciplinary cases for the league.
Berman also cited the length of the suspension, saying how wrong it was for the suspension to be the “equivalent of the discipline imposed upon a player who used performance enhancing drugs.”
The case was the fourth time this year that a player’s suspension was reduced due to appeal, after Ray Rice, Greg Hardy and Adrian Peterson had their appeals either reduced, or halted completely. However, unlike this case, each of those were domestic violence cases.
Typically, failing to cooperate with the NFL in investigations results in nothing more than a fine. For equipment-related issues, the typical fine amounts to about $20,000. Meanwhile, other cases, such as the Brett Favre/Jenn Sterger result in a $50,000 fine.
As a result of the ruling, Berman scrapped Brady’s four-game suspension, thereby allowing him to play in his team’s season-opening game against the Pittsburgh next Thursday.
The NFL has already appealed the suspension, which will be heard by the U.S. Appeals Court, 2nd Circuit.
Brady and the Patriots will open up the NFL’s 2015 season next Thursday, September 10th, against the Pittsburgh Steelers.