A federal judge has tossed out the four-game suspension imposed by the National Football League on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the so-called Deflategate case.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Berman ruled minutes ago that the suspension violated provisions of the NFL’s contract with the labor union that represents the players.
At issue was whether league commissioner Roger Goodell followed the rules outlined in the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement when he banned Brady for four games and then upheld that punishment upon appeal. The league’s lawyers argued that Goodell had the authority to punish Brady unilaterally, but lawyers for the NFLPA, representing Brady, asserted that Brady’s punishment was arbitrary and went beyond provisions of the collective bargaining agreement.
The players union also argued that the star quarterback’s appeal should have been heard by someone other than the commissioner. The union claimed Brady was the victim of bias by Goodell.
Judge Berman had urged the two sides to work out a settlement of the issue, but the parties could not agree.
The NFL said after the decision that it will appeal.