U.S. District Court Judge Richard M. Berman announced Tuesday that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's suspension as a result of Deflategate was overturned, according to the Associated Press:
BREAKING: Tom Brady beats NFL in 'Deflategate' court case, judge nullifies league's 4-game suspension.— The Associated Press (@AP) September 3, 2015
Berman's ruling was determined after Brady and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell failed to reach a settlement in the quarterback's appeal of his four-game suspension for his involvement in the Deflategate scandal. Berman had been urging the two sides to settle, but neither were willing to relent on their stance as Brady refused to admit the findings of the Well's Report, while the league wanted him to accept responsibility for his role in having game balls defeated in the AFC Championship between the Patriots and Indianapolis Colts
The NFL may now try and appeal the decision, though there is no timetable on when one would be heard or when a final decision would be made to finally end the Deflategate controversy. Also, Albert Breer of the NFL Network says he believes the ruling was going to be appeal-proof:
One of the keys for Judge Berman now is making his ruling appeal-proof, which is one reason why this could be taking a little longer ...— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) September 2, 2015
So, maybe this is finally over...
This means Brady will play in 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 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, though he is now on the Colts.
Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant will also miss the game while serving a four-game suspension for substance abuse. Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey will miss this game as he's set to open the year on I.R. with the designation to return after suffering a major ankle injury in the preseason.
After the NFL originally handed Brady his four-game suspension in May, he appealed the ruling with Goodell being the 'neutral' arbitrator. Goodell would later uphold the ruling with the key reason being that Brady directed the cell phone he used for the four months prior to the Deflategate scandal be destroyed.
With this latest ruling on the matter, we can now focus more on next week's regular-season opener between the Patriots and Steelers to kickoff the 2015 NFL season.