The NFL announced Tuesday that the league is upholding the four-game suspension imposed on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for his role in Deflategate.
The initial suspension came back in May not long after the NFL draft. That followed an appeal, heard by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and today's decision to uphold the original four-game suspension. Brady and his lawyers are now expected to take this battle to federal court in order to get his suspension overturned.
This means Brady will miss the regular-season opener on Thursday Night Football between the Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers. The game will be missing some serious star-power as Le'Veon Bell will also be suspended for the first two games of the season for a 2014 DUI and marijuana possession arrest, which occurred with current Patriots player, LeGarrette Blount who will also be missing the first game of the season. (Bell just had his suspension cut down from three games to two today.)
It's possible that Brady will be able to play in the opening game if the case goes to federal court and is going through the process of deliberation at the start of the season.
One of the main factors in the Deflategate decision being upheld was that Brady directed the cell phone he used for the four months prior to the Deflategate scandal be destroyed. Per a press release filed by the NFL today, "He did so even though he was aware that the investigators had requested access to text messages and other electronic information that had been stored on that phone. During the four months that the cell phone was in use, Brady had exchanged nearly 10,000 text messages, none of which can now be retrieved from that device. The destruction of the cell phone was not disclosed until June 18, almost four months after the investigators had first sought electronic information from Brady.
"The commissioner found that Brady’s deliberate destruction of potentially relevant evidence went beyond a mere failure to cooperate in the investigation and supported a finding that he had sought to hide evidence of his own participation in the underlying scheme to alter the footballs."