Judge Rules on NFL Controversy

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On September 3, Judge Richard M. Berman came to a ruling on what has been a widely publicized court battle between New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady and the National Football League. Tom Brady had previously been suspended by the NFL for 4 games of the upcoming 2015 football season. September 3, saw Judger Berman overruling the suspension which had been levied by the NFL.

What Had Happened

The suspension of Tom Brady centered on the accusation that he was aware that New England Patriots’ equipment mangers had overinflated footballs, thus giving Tom Brady a competitive advantage. The NFL had already fined the New England Patriots $1 million dollars and penalized them by taking away first- and fourth-round draft picks. The NFL then went on to suspend Tom Brady for four games, a suspension he decided to appeal.

The Ruling

The exact wording of Judge Berman’s ruling was, “The Award is premised upon several significant legal deficiencies, including (A) inadequate notice to Brady of both his potential discipline (four-game suspension) and his alleged misconduct; (B) denial of the opportunity for Brady to examine one of two lead investigators, namely NFL Executive Vice President and General Counsel Jeff Pash; and (C) denial of equal access to investigative files, including witness interview notes.”

What the Ruling Means

Judge Berman came to his ruling based on three major principles. The first of these was the NFL did not adhere to a timeline dictated by its Collective Bargaining Agreement. Players must be given notice of a suspension well before it becomes active. Second, Tom Brady was not given the chance to cross examine a major witness. Third, Tom Brady was not given access to files which could potentially have had information relevant to his case. Essentially, it seems that Judge Berman believes that Tom Brady was not given the proper tools or time to defend himself. New England Patriots fans may rejoice, Tom Brady has been set free.

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