Entertainment - POSTED: 2016/03/05 02:41
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady could again be facing a four-game suspension for the scandal known as Deflategate after federal appeals court judges spent time Thursday shredding some of his union's favorite arguments for dismissal.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan gave a players' union lawyer a tough time, with Circuit Judge Denny Chin even saying evidence of ball tampering was "compelling, if not overwhelming," and there was evidence to support a finding that Brady "knew about it, consented to it, encouraged it."
"How do we as appellate judges reviewing an arbitrator's decision second-guess the four-game suspension?" Chin asked attorney Jeffrey Kessler of the NFL Players Association.
The appeals court did not immediately rule, but it seemed to lean heavily at times against the union's arguments, raising the prospect that the suspension Brady was supposed to start last September before a judge nullified it may begin next season instead.
The appeals panel seemed receptive to the NFL's argument that it was fair for Commissioner Roger Goodell to severely penalize one of the game's greatest quarterbacks after concluding he tarnished the game by impeding the league's investigation into deflated footballs, including destroying a cellphone containing nearly 10,000 messages. The league had concluded that deflated balls were used when the Patriots routed the Indianapolis Colts at the January 2015 AFC championship game before they went on to win the Super Bowl.