Tom Brady cell phone explanation questioned in 'Deflategate' appeal hearing

By The Sports Xchange  |  March 3, 2016 at 8:29 PM
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The latest edition of the long-running "Deflategate" saga played out in federal appeals court on Thursday and the three judges might take weeks or months to issue a ruling.

The NFL is defending its four-game suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for tampering with game-ready footballs and would like the discipline restored. Brady's side is arguing that a federal judge's previous decision overturning the suspension should remain in place.

The scene played out in New York as the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard testimony from both sides in a session that lasted one hour and 16 minutes. Neither Brady nor NFL commissioner Roger Goodell were in attendance.

Lead NFL attorney Paul Clement requested a quick resolution from the judges.

"It would be an awful shame if this issue has to hang over the league for another season," Clement said. "End it now."

The judges asked Clement why the suspension was so stern for deflating footballs. Clement responded that the punishment was reasonable.

The judges were concerned with the actions of Brady while he knew he was being investigated. Judge Barrington Parker Jr. made stern mention of Brady destroying his cell phone before meeting with NFL investigator Ted Wells.

"Anyone within 100 yards of this case would have known that the cell phone issue elevates this merely from deflated balls to a serious tone of obstruction," Parker said in court.

NFL Players Association attorney Jeffrey Kessler attempted to defend Brady's action and was interrupted by Parker.

"With all due respect, Mr. Brady's explanation made no sense whatsoever," Parker said.

The NFL originally handed Brady a four-game suspension for his alleged involvement in the deflation of footballs before the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts on Jan. 18, 2015.

In September, district judge Richard M. Berman vacated the suspension and Brady was able to play throughout the 2015 season.

The NFL appealed that ruling and now it is in the hands of the 2nd circuit to make a decision.

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