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Quarterback Tom Brady's suspension reinstated by appeals court

By Allen Cone
Quarterback Tom Brady's suspension reinstated by appeals court
An appeals court on Monday reinstated the four-game suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, pictured leaving the Manhattan Federal Court on Aug. 12, 2015. He's set to make his 2016 season debut in the Week 5 game against the Cleveland Browns. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, April 25 (UPI) -- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's four-game suspension stemming from the so-called Deflategate scandal was reinstated by a U.S. appeals court Monday.

"We hold that the commissioner properly exercised his broad discretion under the collective bargaining agreement and that his procedural rulings were properly grounded in that agreement and did not deprive Brady of fundamental fairness," the U.S. Second Circuit Appeals Court wrote in its ruling.

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Judges Denny Chin and Barrington D. Parker ruled in favor of the league, while Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann ruled for Brady. They didn't look at whether Brady deflated the balls but rather examined Commissioner Roger Goodell's authority to decide on a punishment.

Brady would be eligible to make his regular-season debut in Week 5 against the Cleveland Browns. Brady is slated to miss games against the Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans and Buffalo Bills.

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Brady originally was suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season for what the NFL believed to be his role in a scheme to deflate footballs before the AFC Championship Game on Jan. 18, 2015. Brady's suspension was overturned in federal court last September by Manhattan Judge Richard Berman and he played the entire season.

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In October, the NFL appealed the decision, arguing Goodell had the authority to suspend the quarterback based on the 2011 collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and NFLPA.

"We are pleased the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled today that the commissioner properly exercised his authority under the collective bargaining agreement to act in cases involving the integrity of the game," the NFL said in a statement. "That authority has been recognized by many courts and has been expressly incorporated into every collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and (the NFL Players Association) for the past 40 years."

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The NFLPA, which represented Brady, said in a statement it is disappointed in the decision.

"We fought Roger Goodell's suspension of Tom Brady because we know he did not serve as a fair arbitrator and that players' rights were violated under our collective bargaining agreement," the NFLPA said. "Our union will carefully review the decision, consider all of our options and continue to fight for players' rights and for the integrity of the game."

Brady's lawyers can appeal the decision to the full Second Circuit, or even the Supreme Court.

Brady led the Patriots to a 12-4 record and the AFC Championship Game where the Patriots lost to the Denver Broncos. Brady completed 64.4 percent of his passes for 4,770 yards, with 36 touchdowns and seven interceptions for a 102.2 passer rating, his highest passer rating since 2011.

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